Include indigenous people in climate crisis responses

Nyamindi river which is the main source of irrigation water for the Mwea rice farmers and domestic use is almost dry up due to the prevailing harsh climatic conditions. [File, Standard]

Climate change catastrophes have increasingly shown no signs of abating and the global economy is suffering greatly.

Most governments around the world are under intense pressure to address social and economic challenges presented by climate change.

Recently, President Uhuru Kenyatta called on African nations to develop a common agenda as the continent prepares to host the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt in November.

The President, who spoke during a meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on the sidelines of 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, encouraged Africa to take advantage of hosting COP27 to push for equity and justice in climate financing.

And as the world marked the World Desertification and Drought Day in Spain on June 17, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, the National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) Director General and his counterpart from KEFRI led Kenyans to joined the rest of the world to mark the day at Eldume Primary School in Marigat Baringo County. The theme was: “Rising Up from Drought Together”.

Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis noted that 81 per cent of locals are increasingly facing food insecurity because of prolonged droughts, especially in the last nine years due to depressed rains.

Extreme weather events such as droughts, food and water crisis are happening today because of environmental degradation especially in rural areas.

The integration of our youth in climate change action will provide a better understanding on how they can contribute and accelerate more development.

Further, to solidify existing climate policies and the framework, the government should strengthen rural communities’ resilience to mitigate and adapt climate change.

To reduce desertification by planting indigenous trees is the best line of defence for local communities against the impacts of the current climate crisis.

While tackling climate change and seizing opportunities remain a critical model for healthy biodiversity, indigenous communities’ knowledge and science based practices will provide pathway for environmental justice and sustainable livelihoods.

Women, youth and indigenous communities’ involvement in climate change will depend on the decisions we make today.

To build more equitable, sustainable societies and create quality jobs for the youth, climate inclusion will help break inequalities, reduce poverty and achieve food security.

The writer is youth community leader