Government turns to green growth for sustainable governance

Representatives from ministries, departments and agencies who make up the CCUs have their inaugural training and agree on how to help the government achieve the NDCs.

Kenya has been in the forefront in addressing climate change within its unique national circumstances notwithstanding its high vulnerability. The country has puts in place a conducive policy and legal environment to allow for all stakeholders to have adequate space to address climate change.

It is in line with this that the government has adopted the concept of green growth for sustainable governance. Through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, a national Climate Change Unit has been formed that is made up of senior government officials from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Green Growth advocates for complimenting actions between how the government utilises natural resources and its daily development endeavours. Furthermore, it orients policy and associated subsequent actions in regard to climate change issues.

Eng Festus Ngeno, PS Environment and Climate Change has noted that the country is committed to mainstreaming the climate change action plan

“The Ministry has adopted a whole of government and whole of society approach to ensure that climate risks are adequately integrated into our planning, strategies, policies, decisions, and implementation,” noted Eng. Festus Ngeno, the PS Environment and Climate Change.

The adoption signifies a crucial milestone in Kenya’s journey towards sustainability and compliance with legislative obligations outlined in the Climate Change Act of 2016. Further, it is in line with the Kenya Kwanza government priorities of climate mitigation.

“Kenya’s has committed itself for an ambitious goal to restore and conserve 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems with the target of planting and nurturing 15 billion trees by 2032. This is a key Ministry’s deliverable and is hinged on the governments BETA manifesto,” added the PS.

The country has submitted its updated NDC with an increased ambition of 32% from 30% emission reduction target, and has finalised its Long Term Low GHG Gas Emission Development Strategy up to 2050 outlining long term ambition towards net zero target. It has also amended the Climate Change Act, 2023 to include carbon markets, which is one of the innovative mechanisms for enhancing green climate finance.

Due to the fact that climate change affects all sectors of the economy, effective delivery of all government mandates irrespective of state department is affected directly or indirectly by climate change.

“We have witnessed floods cut off schools and displace pupils, destructions of roads and other critical infrastructures by floods, escalation of insecurity due to competition for scarce resources during droughts, emergence of vector borne diseases where they never use to exists as a result of warming temperatures and excess precipitation, flooding of hotels by rising lake levels, mass death of wildlife during droughts, destruction of forests and trees are but just a few examples,” noted the PS, “so each state department has a role to play in climate mitigation.”

Notably, despite the delayed implementation of the Climate Change Act of 2016, the inclusion of the MDAs in the implementation process suggests a commendable commitment to rectify past oversights and embrace proactive measures against climate change.

The basis of inclusion of state and public officers in the national climate change unit is enshrined in the Climate Change Act of 2016. “The role of state and public officers in climate mitigation is stated in the Climate Change Act, 2016 section 15 (5) (c), which calls for all public entities to designate a unit with adequate staff and financial resources and appoint a senior officer as head of the unit to coordinate the mainstreaming of climate change action plan and other climate change statutory functions and mandates into sectoral strategies for implementation,” asserted the PS.

The PS is hopeful that with the establishment and operalisation of the units, the country can fast track the implementation of its climate mitigation priorities. State and public officers will henceforth receive trainings and hold frequent meetings to achieve set objectives that are customised to different state departments.

Story by Dibo Willis-Ambetsa, MPRSK, ILA

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