Region-specific climate policies more impactful, Ministry told

Environment CS Soipan Tuya before the National Assembly Agriculture Committee on August 21, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Ministry of Environment has been tasked to collaborate with members of parliament to formulate climate change mitigation policies that are region-specific. 

This emerged during a parliamentary committee where the National Assembly environment committee met with officials from the Environment Ministry and the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

According to the lawmakers, policies that target the particular needs of a specific region will be appropriate as every region is distinct in their climate change mitigation priorities. 

“In places where we cannot plant trees, we can allocate funds for something else on climate change,” the committee chair Musa Sirma said.

The legislator said the meeting sought to deliberate on guidelines that will form the structure of operationalising the amended NG-CDF Act. 

In the amendment, climate change mitigation funds were included, with the lawmakers benefiting with an additional Sh2.5 billion to their development allocation. 

According to NG-CDF Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Mbuno, each of the constituencies will spend between Sh7 million to Sh10 million in their annual budget on environment conservation. 

“These guidelines we are working on with parliament and the Ministry will ensure proper utilisation of the funds allocated for climate change mitigation measures,” he stated. 

As part of embracing innovation in the fight against climate change, the MPs proposed the installation of biogas in learning institutions to substitute the use of fuel wood for cooking. 

“Where we cannot plant trees, we can allocate funds for something else,” said Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda, noting that biogas will help reduce

Further, the legislators tasked the Ministry to conduct data research that they said will assist in the mapping of areas that need more environment conservation action. 

In his response, Environment Principal Secretary Gitonga Mugambi said the Ministry is well equipped with data from each county that will inform the implementation strategies on the ground. 

“In every country, we know how many trees should be grown in every constituency to move this country from current tree cover of about 12 per cent to about 30 per cent,” said Mugambi. 

And on the creation of a new department within the Department of Forestry, Green Army, he said, the new staff will be domiciled within the constituency offices. 

“They will be working hand in hand with technical people especially from KEFRI, to be imparted with technical know-how to supervise and give feedback to the MPs on the progress of the activities in schools and other areas” said PS Mugambi. 

He called on all stakeholders to come together, saying the coordinated efforts especially with National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) will help in the promotion and monitoring of the greening projects.

The MPs also underscored the need for community sensitisation, emphasising the integration of community members for the success of the government’s vision to reduce the impact of climate change.