What you need to know:
- On the sidelines of the just concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Vihiga County impressed delegates by how it is tackling the crisis.
On the sidelines of the just concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Vihiga County impressed delegates by how it is tackling the crisis.
According to governor Wilbur Ottichilo who attended the global meet, his county sets aside about with 2 per cent of its entire budget, around Sh160 million, annually for climate change initiatives that are bearing fruit.
“Vihiga has fairly been blessed compared to the rest of the other counties because we have been receiving rainfall although not adequately and the impact of climate change is very evident as seasons have changed; planting cannot be done as we have been doing in the past.
“This is why we have taken climate change as a major challenge to the people of Vihiga and in terms of food production, we are looking at adaptation; how do we adapt to changing climate and how do we ensure that people understand the issues of climate change because they are very complex,” said Dr Ottichilo.
The governor urged other counties to do more to safeguard livelihoods .
“ I am happy to say that we have made a lot of progress, for example, we have the climate change legislation in place. We as a county have decided that we shall not wait for funding from national, multilateral, bilateral or international organisations,” he said, adding that the county is working to mainstream climate change in all the sectors of its economy .
“... we have set up climate change planning groups up to the ward level, apart from doing the capacity building and climate change risk assessment of the whole county with help from the National Treasury and World Bank. Now we are getting into investment programmes at the ward level’” he said.
Dr Ottichilo said that engaging people at the local level was much better than engaging people at this international level where there are too many variables and interests.
“When I listen to people here in Egypt, people are more interested in business, they are seeing climate change as a business opportunity, which is good, but we must confront the climate change pandemic first before we look at the business. As Vihiga County, we came to COP27 to look for partners , we want to engage partners that will deal with us directly but what I have observed is that most of the partners have interests in the long-term business angle,” said the governor .
“We have been attending many global meetings at COP 27 but the one that stood out most for me was on climate financing and this is the core of the business ... we have reached a level where we now we need implementation, which cannot take place without financing,” he added.
He is of the view that despite Africa going home from the biggest global climate meet with a historic loss and damage fund, “the climate crisis is being felt now and the money is needed now”.