NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on African leaders to work in unity to be able to combat effects of climate change.
Saying that climate change is a matter of life and death for Africa and the continent has experienced devastating and unprecedented impacts of climate change on its peoples' lives and livelihoods and national economies.
“Given that our shared ecosystems and natural resources know no boundaries, it is essential that we continue to speak in one voice to safeguard the basis of our development and seek transformative solutions,” Uhuru said last week.
In a speech read on his behalf by Environment Cabinet Secretary KeriakoTobiko, Uhuru said Africa is the most vulnerable continent despite contributing only about four per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Tobikoread the speech when he represented the President to launch the three-day 7th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-VII) in a Nairobi hotel.
The conference is convened by Government, in collaboration with Climate Development (CLIMDEV) Africa Partners, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Think Renewables from Canada.
However, the President said climate change threats present opportunities for innovative and green investments for Africa.
“This is why implementation of the Paris Agreement remains a priority for the continent in order to adapt to the inevitability of climate variability and change,” Uhuru said
He said that achieving the goals of the Agreement require committed leadership from state and non-state actors.
“The theme of this year’s forum, “Policies and actions for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement for resilient economies in Africa”, reflects our collective engagement and commitment to strengthen climate change actions in the context of Africa’s development priorities,” Uhuru said.
He called on Africa to use the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Global Warming of 1.50C special report and its impacts in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty released this week.
The President said 2018 is a critical year for the operationalization of the Paris Agreement. The nature and extent of parties’ obligations will only be clear once negotiations on the Paris Rule Book are complete, and hopefully adopted in COP 24, in Katowice, Poland in December 2018,” Uhuru said.
He noted that for Africa to address effects of climate change, it needs adequate and predictable resources be mobilised and made available to support adaptation and mitigation action in Africa and other developing world.
Kenya has put in place an enabling policy and legal environment for climate change implementation and has a greenhouse gasemission reduction target of 30 per cent by 2030.
“Our National Climate Action Plan (2018-2022) identifies disaster risk management, food and nutrition security, water and the blue economy, forestry, wildlife and tourism, health, sanitation and human settlements to help us tackle climate change,” Uhuru said.
The President as part of tapping into the opportunities in biodiversity, Kenya will hosting the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference next month to promote sustainable investments in oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.
“I invite you all to attend and actively participate in the Conference so as to raise the African voice in matters of Blue Economy and Ocean governance,” Uhuru said.
Tobiko stressed the need to include indigenous knowledge, marginalized and indigenous communities, private sector, the youth and women.
“Scientists need to work closely with indigenous people to learn from them on how to address climate change. The communities have solutions to the problems we are facing now. Let us not spend more time in boardrooms,” Tobiko said.
Vihiga Governor Dr Wilbur Otichillo who represented the Council of Governors (CoG) stressed the need for working together to achieve climate change goals.
“The national government has built capacities of counties. Counties now should have their own county determined contributions to address climate change since this is a devolved function,” Otichillo said.
Dr James Murombedzi, head of Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said climate change is happening at a rate much faster than previously estimated.
“Global warming is outstripping all our efforts to resolve it.The impacts of global warming are also already much greater than predicted, particularly in developing countriesLimiting global warming to 1.5 degrees will cost $2.4 trillion of investments in the global energy system every year between 2016 – 2035. The cost of not doing anything will be much, much higher,” Murombedzi said.
MithikaMwenda, the secretary general of PACJA said political leaders hold the key for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“Our leaders should remain focused and resist attempts to scatter the unified African voice to deny us a strong bargain of the Paris rulebook which will define whether the agreement will follow the previous efforts which have remained in the shelves of government offices without implementation,” Mwenda said.