Treasury vows to address climate effects on economy

National Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia at a past event. He says despite teething setbacks, Kenya is proud of strides in fighting global warming. [File, Standard]

The government says it’s ready to mobilise additional resources externally and internally to scale up interventions against climate change and its effects on the economy.

National Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia is confident that a coordinate effort between the national government, counties and development partners will address urgent gaps in climate adaptation and mitigation.

While addressing the Kenyan delegation to the United Nation-led climate talks in Madrid, Spain, yesterday, the PS said despite teething setbacks, the country was proud of its strides in fighting global warming.

He said Kenya’s recent Sh4.3 billion green bond, which was oversubscribed, was a landmark stage in the country’s sure transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Kenya is punching high on issues of climate change and will do more,” said Muia, who was the senior-most Kenya government official present at the talks. He challenged the Kenyan negotiating team to come up with in depth reports and proposals that would help shape budgeting towards climate projects.

“Your report should bring up all the climate issues that may require to be addressed even in the supplementary budget number two,” he told the COP 25 team, which also gave a brief on how far the negotiations had progressed.   

Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo, who represented the Council of Governors at the talks, called on the counties, the national government, the civil society and the private sector to work together in fighting climate change.

He said operationalisation of a National Climate Change Council would pave the way for a coordinated approach in interventions. “Let’s explore the opportunities that have come with the climate challenge,” he told the delegation.

Averagely, financial investments on climate change interventions constitute just about or under 6 per cent of most counties, with two-thirds of resources going into adaptation. According to independent reports on a sample of counties, yearly investments on climate change amounts to Sh614 million in Kisumu, Sh528 million in Baringo, Sh417 million in West Pokot and Sh269 million in Laikipia.

Governor Ottichilo urged Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko and his teams to complete a review of funding regulations to ease conception, planning and funding to climate projects.

More than 30,000 participants are attending the Madrid climate talks and are drawn from government, sub-tiers of government, parliamentarians, NGOs, UN agencies and business leaders, with Kenya under the G77 and China, calling for support in finance and technology to transition their economies to sustainable regimes.

Yesterday, however, it emerged Kenya had not fully honoured its contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Kenyan delegates revealed that the country was indebted to the tune of millions.

Early yesterday, PS Muia was a panelist at a side meeting on sustainable financing towards the Paris Agreement where he said Kenya was alive to challenges linked to climate change as seen in frequent floods and droughts.  

“Kenya has a big challenge of relying heavily on sectors such as agriculture, transport and energy that are also seriously hit by climate change,” he said.

The PS appeared at the high-level panel alongside Tao Zhang, IMF’s Deputy Managing Director, Ashley Ian, CEO of Hong Kong Securities and WWF Finance Practice leader Margaret Kuhlow.