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Kenya calls for support, vows to sustain global warming fight

By Mark Oloo in Marrakech, Morocco | Published Tue, November 15th 2016 at 14:48, Updated November 15th 2016 at 14:52 GMT +3

Kenya has assured the international community that combating global warming is a priority agenda, with robust legislative plans in place to address its economic impacts.

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said the government was redirecting resources towards strengthening the country's domestic climate change agenda.

She said President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration would continue working with various partners towards addressing climate vagaries, especially in arid and semi-arid areas where the government was making progress in raising participation of the private sector and the public in conservation programmes.

Speaking at the ongoing UN-led climate change talks in Marrakech, Morocco, on Tuesday, Prof Wakhungu said Kenya's vulnerability was evident in the intensity of floods, droughts and reduced crop yields.

President Kenyatta, who is among heads of state attending the conference of parties (COP22), is expected to reaffirm Kenya's commitment to the climate talks as negotiations enter a crucial phase this week.

Prof Wakhungu said the Cabinet approval of the Paris agreement, the enactment of the Climate Change Act and the development of an exhaustive national climate change response strategy were milestones in Kenya's fight against global warming.

The historic Paris agreement was signed last year when countries agreed to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels. It came into force this month and its implementation will require cuts in use of fossil fuels. It was backed by 200 nations and ratified by 109.

"We have a climate council chaired by the President. We have also put in place a national adaptation plan. We are committed to implementing a low carbon regime as recommended in our action plan. All these strategies are aligned to Vision 2030," she told a briefing convened by Kenya which also included panel discussions.

"We are ready to receive and utilize climate financing," the CS added.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that by mid-century, more than a billion people would face water shortage and hunger, including 600 million in Africa alone.

Turkana, Wajir and parts of Rift Valley have been hardest hit yet projections haven't fallen short of raising the red flag. Experts say by 2020, those gravely affected each year by climate-related disasters could rise by more than 50 per cent to 375 million, regionally.

The government hopes to use the National Climate Change Response Strategy to initiate adaptation in vulnerable regions. The strategy enlists action plans Kenya will take towards adapting to climate change, with an annual budget for proposed climate change programmes standing at Sh235 billion nationally.

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