Kenya pitches for Swedish support ahead of Climate Summit

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya (right) who is visiting Stockholm, Sweden interacts with a Stockholm Environment Institute officials.

Photo credit: Courtesy I Ministry of Environment

Kenya is seeking the expertise of Swedish scientists to help prepare adequate focal points for the upcoming Climate Summit.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya, who is visiting Swedish capital Stockholm has asked the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), involved in environmental research to offer Kenya the technical support needed for co-hosting the inaugural African Climate Summit that will be held in Nairobi later this year. 

Kenya is planning to host a three-day climate action summit on September 4 to 6, the result of a decision by the African Union to follow-up on the discussions around climate change.

Kenya’s President William Ruto currently heads the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC). According to an initial statement on the conference, the summit intends to advance a green economic investments, green industrial revolution and foster agreement on critical climate problems as well as encourage more financial support for climate action in Africa  by making use of continental platforms such as the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Tuya thinks Swedish experts such as those at SEI can help guide on how the government can draft an adequate programme on the Summit, as well as focus on areas that have been overlooked.

“The running theme of this upcoming summit is going to explore a more ecologically responsible industrialisation, one that promotes multi-sectoral climate resilience in agriculture, food systems, water resources amongst others,” she said during a meeting with SEI's global leadership team led by the institute's Executive Director Prof  Måns Nilsson.

“I do recognise and appreciate the work that SEI does across the world, especially your research and policy engagement in Kenya, which includes support to my ministry on strategic planning and on air quality management, and work on building resilience in the arid and semi-Arid counties through the IMARA project funded by SIDA Kenya,” the CS highlighted.

SEI’s previous work has included  a study of ecosystems restoration, circular economy, and acceleration, which are also focal areas for Kenya’s climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Kenya has said it is revising her 2016 climate change law to among other reforms introduce progressive carbon markets provisions.

“Trade and environment are critical to our economy. Our leading export products are Tea and Coffee both of which are now threatened by climate change, and we are currently working on reducing the carbon foot prints for both our tea and coffee as we work on remaining competitive globally in these sector,” the CS said, accompanied by Sweden’s Ambassador to Kenya Caroline Vicini.

Kenya has invited all African Union Members to the Summit but says the climate change problem must also involve global efforts. The Summit Is expected to agree on a "Nairobi Declaration" that will among other priorities, consolidate the continent’s common position on climate change ahead of this year's COP (Conference of Parties) 28 in the United Arab Emirates as well as provide the continent's green growth blueprint.

"We will also host the Africa Climate Week at the same time. The Summit will discuss key outcomes from COP 27, define priorities for COP 28, and highlight opportunities for climate investment in Africa to steer the continent towards a climate resilient and socially just decarbonised future. 

Kenya’s new President William Ruto has vowed to see Kenya plant 15 billion trees , meant to raise forest cover from the current 12.2 percent to 30 percent, by 2030. Tuya says they are learning from Sweden, whose tree cover is 68.7 percent.

"The President of Kenya, amplifying the aspirations of the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration has committed that Kenya will plant 15 billion trees by the year 2032. Achieving this target will bring Kenya’s tree cover to 30 percent, in ten years up from the current 12.2 percent.

"I am sure, talking about 30 percent tree cover in 10 years, for you in Sweden who are at 68.7 percent forest cover at the moment might look small, but that is why we are here, and we need to achieve this while creating decent and sustainable employment opportunities for the youth," CS Tuya said.

She is expected to visit Denmark where she will deliver a keynote speech at the Loop Forum, another climate change forum on recycling, also known as circular economy.