Summit ends with vow to fund climate war

From left; Nyamira Governor Stanley Ongwae, CoG Chair Martin Wambora, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Alice Milgo present a gift to Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

This year’s devolution conference ended yesterday with a lower turnout. Exhibitionists folded up earlier than usual, with some not opening at all.

Nakuru County’s exhibition was voted the best, with Kakamega and Kitui taking second and third places.

The conference, postponed last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, offered a platform for counties to showcase their products. 

Described as fruitful by panelists, the event centred on urgent climate action to slow down effects of the unpredictable climatic conditions.

Described widely as a mini-Cop26 conference, topics focused on climate change and how it touched on different aspects of life.

The main plenary sessions were platforms for general discussions around the subject, with breakaway sessions providing a more focused discussion.

More than two million people in Kenya currently face drought and potential famine, direct results of global warming.

National and county governments yesterday resolved to allocate more funds towards climate action in the next budgeting cycle.

As a resolution of this year’s devolution conference, both levels of government agreed to strengthen public finance frameworks to ring-fence funds meant for climate action.

This would ensure no level of government is left behind in tackling the emerging threat to survival of humanity.

While announcing the resolutions, Kisii Governor James Ongwae said partnerships between the two levels would increase chances of success.

“Both levels of government shall, in the spirit of cooperation, coordination, consultation and collaboration, design and implement practical policies, strategies, laws, regulations and action plans to address climate change. Both levels of government shall strengthen structured intergovernmental consultations and ensure effective joint efforts and programming on resilient food systems,” said Ongwae, who co-chaired the devolution conference steering committee.

All counties have been tasked with enacting climate change-related legislation to provide a framework of rolling out climate action.

The national government further committed to involve counties more in mitigating climate-change-induced conflict.

In a win for regional blocs, it was also agreed such blocs would drive the climate action agenda.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has been a champion for such blocs, used as channels to spur economic growth.

“The implementation of these resolutions shall be monitored closely by devolution stakeholders,” added Ongwae.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa affirmed the government’s commitment to the recommendations.

“We couldn’t have picked a better time to discuss climate change because of what our country is facing. Kenya is a resilient nation but never has our resilience been tested this much. That is why we need to put out heads together,” he said.

Prof Kibwana, the host, termed the conference a success. “The discussions have been top-notch. We have the capacity and knowledge to drive the climate change agenda. There was full and robust participation,” said Kibwana.

In a message through Nominated Senator Alice Milgo, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said the Senate would act as protectors of devolution by playing its legislative role in ensuring climate action.

“To curb effects of climate change, better strategies, coordination and participation are required,” said Dr Milgo, calling for more allocations to climate action.

Council of Governors chairman Martin Wambora called for prioritisation of financing climate action.

“While the national government will be tasked with providing the finances, it will be the responsibility of the county governments to implement the resolutions reached,” said Wambora.