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Why more women on national climate change council matter

By Jackson Bambo | November 7th 2016

The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) is being held in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016 after the Paris Agreement entering into force. Negotiators, leaders, experts and activists are gathering to begin the daunting task of implementing this historic accord that seeks to avert the worst impacts of man-made climate change.

Climate Change is a global phenomenon, yet its impacts are severe and real in Kenya. Scientists attribute it to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as drought and flooding. They predict that these, and other, observed climatic changes will become more severe in coming years with an estimated economic cost of more than 5 percent of GDP (World Bank, 2014).

These climate changes are an increasing burden on national and county governments in their efforts to protect vulnerable populations, increase forest cover and realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Changing precipitation patterns have negative impacts on people and livestock contributing to desertification, flooding, food insecurity, migration and increased conflicts. The poor, socially marginalized and in particular women, are often most affected.

Kenya is on the right track following the enactment of the Climate Change Act 2016. To ensure its full implementation, active participation and informed decision making on issues affecting women as relates to climate change, we urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to consider nominating women to the National Climate Change Council for enhanced governance.

More women on the National Climate Change Council – why does it matter?

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 states that, the State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.

The process of nominating members to the Council has begun. It will be unconstitutional considering the fact that it has been the trend, that during nominations women are under-represented on most boards/councils. In 2015, women held 19.8 percent, while men held 80.2 percent of the board seats in Kenya (Africa Development Bank, 2015).

The Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG) and gender and Climate Change Working Group wants President Uhuru to comply with the 2/3 gender rule, enhance Climate Change Council institutional capacity and sector linkage, fast track the implementation of the Climate Change Act, the parliament should endorse people of high integrity and nominating Institutions should present names of nominees from both gender

Mr Jack Bambo works with Kenya Forests Working Group as National Coordinator

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