Kenya should prioritise the financing of climate change adaptation, mitigation

A flooded estate in Mshomoroni, Mombasa County, early this year. Unexpected floods and other extreme weather conditions in several parts of the country have been linked to climate change. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The country’s goals to tackle climate change will only be realised if substantial financial allocations are done both at the national and county levels.
  • The country has already established a National Climate Change Fund under the Climate Change Act.

Kenya faces significant challenges from the negative impacts of climate change which pose a risk to its people’s livelihoods and economy. Already observed impacts include: reduced agricultural production hence food insecurity due to changing rainfall patterns or failure of some rainfall seasons; reduced energy production levels especially the hydropower sector that supplies the country with 70 pc of its electricity due to decreasing water levels, among others.

Financing climate change adaptation and mitigation response measures should, therefore, be prioritised in ensuring that the observed devastating food insecurity concerns, environmental degradation and decline in economic prospects directly or indirectly affected by climate change does not escalate.

The country’s goals to tackle climate change will only be realised if substantial financial allocations are done both at the national and county levels. Kenya has committed to a 30 per cent reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

SUPPORT

To realise its NDC commitment, Kenya cannot do it alone, international support remains essential. This support will be needed in the form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity building. The Kenyan NDC estimates that over USD 40 billion will be required for mitigation and adaptation actions across sectors up to 2030.

Taking note of the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities under the UNFCCC Convention and realising the ambition under the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in global average temperature to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the necessary financial resources, capacity as well as technology required by developing countries should be provided through the financing mechanisms established under the UNFCCC like the Green Climate Fund(GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and other bilateral and multilateral funding sources.

This is key as most of the developing countries’ NDCs, like Kenya’s, have a conditional component, that is, commitments that are dependent on international support for their implementation.

This, therefore, means that if countries are serious about addressing climate change, development of the Paris Rule Book should affirm the provision of the required support for developing countries in order to facilitate the implementation of climate change actions.

BUDGET ALLOCATIONS

In addition to the international support, Kenya needs to increase budget allocations for climate change adaptation and mitigation response actions at national and county levels. In this case, the counties are expected to prioritise climate change interventions in their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), design climate change programmes that respond to the needs of the vulnerable communities at the local level and make financial allocations for the same.

On a positive note, Kenya has already established a National Climate Change Fund under the Climate Change Act. It will be key to realise the operationalisation of the fund in availing the resources required to fund climate change action at the national and local levels.

The Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund established under the UNFCCC are key international climate financial mechanisms among other bilateral and multilateral climate financing streams that Kenya should tap into.

Although Kenya has made efforts in tapping into the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund, there is a need to enhance the capacity of local organisations to access and utilise these funds.

COOPERATION

This requires rigorous procedures and processes, hence the need for cooperation between the government and non-governmental organisations in leveraging on the necessary capacity.

During the Bonn negotiations on climate change, parties agreed that the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement. Industrialised countries have committed to make funds available for the Adaption Fund.

In relation, Kenya should strengthen the capacity of the relevant institutions as well the stakeholders involved to develop bankable projects with respect to the country’s climate needs in order to access more cash from the Adaptation Fund. Kenya has so far had access to one billion Kenya shillings for an “Integrated programme to build resilience to climate change and adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities” by the Adaptation Fund.

As parties under the UNFCCC embark on the modalities of the operationalisation of the Adaptation Fund under the Paris Agreement, Kenya should share its experience in shaping the fund to align with the priorities of vulnerable communities

The National Climate Change Action Plan indicates that to support sustainable development, Kenya must focus on the attainment of low carbon, climate resilient development.

 Writer is Programme Coordinator at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Kenya Office

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