Boost EA region’s fight against climate crisis

A spirited joint campaign by the East African Community (EAC) member states against the mounting climate change challenge has the potential to make a big difference. In fact, such a regional drive is long overdue.

None of these countries on their own can have the grit to force the major polluters to reduce their deadly contributions to global warming. Developed countries and their wealthy corporations — especially in Europe, North America and Asia — are the biggest contributors to global emissions and climate change.

The EAC’s feasibility report indicates that it will require a $212 billion budget to wage the war on climate change. But this money is not readily available. Food and water security and nature-based solutions must be prioritised.

This is a fight against a devastating enemy that respects no borders. The impact of the climate crisis is evident in the rising temperatures and erratic weather adversely affecting the lives of millions across the region.

The urgency is palpable, and the EAC must be united in coming up with an answer to the challenge. Kenya’s arid and semi-arid northern and coastal regions, for instance, have been grappling with the consequences of the quick succession from severe drought to extremely intense and destructive rainfall.

There is a need to develop and implement regional policies and strategies to address climate change and promote sustainable development. The EAC Climate Change Policy provides a comprehensive framework to tackle the crisis. Joint initiatives and projects such as the Lake Victoria Basin Commission should be intensified.

Financial support to enable Africa’s transition from fossil fuels is lacking. The least polluters will continue to suffer the consequences of the carbon emissions from the wealthy developed nations. A $100 billion loss and damage compensation pledge has now risen to $800 billion with the rich nations not showing any sign of honouring it.

East Africa must stand united in championing climate adaptation for a more resilient future. This is the region’s inevitable solution.