Joyriders to Egypt: Ruto's administration sent over 380 delegates to COP27

President William Ruto

President William Ruto addressing the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Photo credit: PCS

Kenya is among the countries that sent the largest delegation to the world climate talks in Egypt, casting doubts on the government’s commitment to austerity measures. 

According to the United Nation’s provisional list of the people who attended the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Kenya sent 386 participants.

Kenya’s delegation was the second largest in Africa and fourth globally at the world event which had 33,000 delegates.

Top in Africa was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which had 459 and was the third globally.

When the Nation analysed the list of Kenya’s delegation, we found that of the 386 attendees, 293 were from the national government.

Typically, government employees on official duty overseas draw allowances from the Exchequer for foreign travel and accommodation. However, delegates from the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)cover their own costs.

But countries often give party badges to NGOs, the private sector, academia and the youth, which makes it easier to use them as negotiators if need be.

The Nation contacted the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Soipan Tuya but she had not responded to our enquiries both on text messages and calls by the time of going to press.

Government team

Kenya’s delegation was led by President William Ruto. The office of the President had a total of 24 participants – 15 support staff and nine security officials.

A total of five Cabinet secretaries attended the function: Mr Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Mr Davis Kipchirchir (Energy), Dr Alfred Mutua (Foreign Affairs), Ms Alice Wahome (Water and Irrigation) and Njuguna Ndung’u (Treasury).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a total of 30 participants, the Ministry of Water had six, Treasury (8), Agriculture (18) and Environment and Forestry (29). It is worth noting that other ministries, including Education, Health, East Africa Community, Tourism, Transport and Lands sent a total of 12 delegates.

A total of 17 governors and one deputy governor also attended the conference.

The governors include Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado), Ann Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Mohamed Ali (Marsabit), Wilber Otichillo (Vihiga), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Godhana Dhadho (Tana River), Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos) and Andrew Mwandime (Taita-Taveta).

President William Ruto

President William Ruto addressing the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Kenya’s delegation was led by President Ruto. The office of the President had a total of 24 participants – 15 support staff and nine security officials.

Photo credit: PCS

Others are Issah Timamy (Lamu), Cecily Mbarire (Embu), Ochilo Ayako (Migori), Muthumi Njuki (Tharaka-Nithi), Paul Otuoma (Busia) and Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi).

The senate had a delegation of four: Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Carolyne Jeptoo (Elgeyo-Marakwet), Miraj Abdul (nominated) and Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay).

The Kenyan Embassy in Egypt had a total of four participants.

The number of attendees from the NGOs was 17 while those from the media recorded in the list were eight.

Compared to the world's top economies, Kenya sent the largest number of participants to the conference.

For instance, the United States of America sent 136 participants, the United Kingdom sent 93, China had 71 while India had 229.

Neighbouring countries within East Africa sent delegates as follows: Uganda (241), Tanzania (197), Rwanda (129), Burundi (118), Sudan (130), Ethiopia (131) and South Sudan (151).

Kenya also sent a larger delegation than top economies in Africa, with Nigeria sending 171 participants, South Africa 81, Algeria (65) while Egypt had a total of 155 participants.

COP27 was the second most attended in the history of the conferences, after 2021’s which was held in Glasgow, Scotland and attended by 40,000 delegates.

"Africa's COP"

According to the brief of participants, the conference, dubbed “Africa’s COP,” record numbers of participants from African countries registered. The number of participants from NGOs was the second largest.

“The official document containing the final list of participants will be issued after the closure of the sessions. It will take into account any additional information received by the secretariat before 16 November 2022,” the UN said in a notice that accompanied the data on the participants.

The largest delegation to the COP27 was from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a total of 1,073 delegates. The UAE will be the host of next year’s COP28.

Brazil was second, with a total of 574 participants registered to attend the conference. In the past, however, Brazil has been the country that takes the largest number of people to the climate talks.

DRC was third with 459 participants while Kenya was at position four in the world followed by Canada at 377.

The other top 10 countries on the list are Zimbabwe (264), Senegal (245), Uganda (241), the Republic of the Congo (237) and Iraq (235). 

Iraq, compared to its delegation in 2021, tripled the number of delegates it sent to Egypt.

The Nation also looked at the top 10 countries that sent participants to the conference and compared the number of male and females.

UAE had a total of 665 male participants while the females were 408. Brazil had 360 male participants while the number of females was 214. DRC had 344 men and 115 women, Kenya sent 248 men and 138 women, Canada (197 men and 180 women) and Zimbabwe (187 males and 77 females).

Senegal had 189 men and 56 women, Uganda sent 153 men and 88 women, Congo had 186 men and 51 women while Iraq had 177 men and 58 women. Turkmenistan sent five delegates, all men, while North Korea sent four men. 

However, some countries sent more women than men. They include Niue, Estonia, Panama, the USA, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Reporting by Nyaboga Kiage, Amina Wako and Jackline Macharia