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Uhuru urged to create climate change council

Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo plants a tree at a past function on World Environment Day.

Governors have petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to urgently constitute the National Climate Change Council and make it operational before the upcoming conference in the UK.

Council of Governors (CoG) Chairperson of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, Wilber Ottichilo, said doing so will strengthen Kenya’s position at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November.

Speaking during the Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG) launch of three strategic plans in Nairobi, Dr Ottichilo further urged the National Treasury to operationalise the National Climate Change Fund to give counties access to key resources they can use to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

These actions, he said, will strengthen the Kenyan position to the COP26 when discussing the Kenya Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. The COP26, which will take place from November 1 to 12, will bring together Heads of State, climate experts and campaigners to agree on coordinated action to tackle climate change.

Global treaties

As the conference approaches, countries are taking stock of the progress they have made towards implementing global treaties like the Paris Agreement.

The Vihiga governor said though Kenya had made great strides with the enactment of the Climate Change Act, 2016, National Climate Change Response Strategy (2012) and National Climate Change Action Plan (2012-2018), more needs to be done to change the brutal tide of global warming.

He said the Act was the first of its kind in Africa and it provides for climate change governance and action planning at national and sub-national levels. In line with the Act, so far, five counties have enacted their climate change legislation and 24 are at different stages in their legislation process.

“… we have resolved and committed to mainstream climate change mitigation and adaptation in all sectors of our economy. For example, my county is working closely with various civil society organisations such as the Adaptation Consortium and Christian Aid as well as private sector – specifically Equity Bank – to mainstream climate change at county and national levels,” he said.

So important is the debate on climate change the CoG resolved to have it as the key theme during the 7th annual and final Devolution Conference, which will take place in Makueni County from August 23 to 26.

Ottichilo said ahead of the COP26 conference, the CoG will plant more than two million trees in Makueni and adjoining counties of Machakos, Kajiado and Kitui. He appealed to other counties to do the same.

So far, he said more than seven million trees have been planted.

On behalf of the CoG, he urged the Climate Change Working Group to focus on creating strong networks of civil societies involved in climate change activities in each of the 47 counties.

He said this will create awareness and build capacity on climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives and challenges in all the counties.

The governor said the CoG, in collaboration with the National Treasury and the Ministry of Environment, have formulated a project dubbed ‘Locally Led Climate Change Programme’ to be funded by the World Bank to the tune of Sh30 billion for five years.

The programme will be implemented in all the 47 counties and aims to create awareness and build capacity in climate change mitigation and adaptation at the ward level.

The three strategic plans that were launched are Kenya Climate Change Working Group Strategic Plan (2021-2025), Kenya Climate Change Working Group Advocacy Strategy (2021-2024) and Kenya Climate Change Working Group Communication Strategy (2021-2023).

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