STATUS OF FINANCING CLIMATE CHANGE IN KENYA & ITS IMPACT ON ACCESS TO BASIC SERVICES

STATUS OF FINANCING CLIMATE CHANGE IN KENYA & ITS IMPACT ON ACCESS TO BASIC SERVICES

The Kenya’s Climate Change Act of 2016, defines Climate Change as “a change in the climate
system which is caused by significant changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases as a
consequence of human activities and which is in addition to natural climate change that has
been observed during a considerable period.” Climate Change in Kenya has manifested itself
through pro-longed droughts and melting of glaciers on Mount Kenya – the largest water tower
and the major source of many rivers such as Ewaso Nyiro and River Tana. These are the signs
that remind us that climate change is real and as a result, the government has to take appropriate
measures to mitigate and enable people to adapt to its effects. As an open budget advocate, I
believe that the government and private sector actors must get committed towards mitigation and
resilience from effects of climate change. This article seeks to identify Kenya’s financing
framework for climate change and what can be done differently to mitigate the effects to
Kenyans.

Effect of climate change on economic development

We should all care about climate change because it’s a threat to the achievements of Kenya Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level. In Kenya’s Budget Statement 2018, the national treasury indicated that, “the global mean temperature is expected to rise by 2.8 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years.” if nothing is done to mitigate the effects.  This kind of temperature rise has consequences on our lives, from extreme weather events; to rise in sea levels and a wide spread of vector-borne diseases. This means much of the country’s resources will be spent combating these effects other than substantial developmental projects. Impact of climate Change on Access to Water.  

Impact of Climate Change on access to other basic services  

By now it’s now clear that climate change will have a direct (negative) impact on all spheres of our economy. On tourism sector, we won’t receive tourists at our coastal sandy beaches since their lives will be in danger from extreme weather conditions. I hope you remember the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that caught many countries flatfooted.  Lack of preparedness for outcomes of climate change will make agricultural production a nightmare and a chase after the wind, an exercise in futility. This is because there will be drastic changes in climatic conditions and hence ideal conditions for agricultural production will be interfered with. Note that agriculture is Kenya’s main source of livelihood. It contributes 26 percent of Kenya’s GDP and employees 40% of the country’s population. This is why we say that “agriculture is the backbone of our economy.” Failure to safeguard the sector from shocks of climate change will see 40 percent of Kenyans jobless and the impact will be even greater in rural areas where 70 percent of residents depend on agriculture as a source of employment.

Best Practices from Africa

In Africa, Morroco is a best practice for Kenya to learn on what can be done differently on climate change mitigation. This North African country pledged to spend $10 billion of her own money to achieve a 13% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030. This is in addition to funds sought from other sources such as UN Climate Funds. Morroco is lucky to have plenty of sunshine, water and wind to harness towards attaining this goal. The country is now committed to generate 50% of its energy/power from solar, hydro and wind by 2050, from its 2015 production of 30%.

How is Kenya Planning to finance Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation from 2018 going forward?

Currently, national government of Kenya has laid down its broad expenditure policies in the Budget Policy Statement 2018. As you might be aware, public budget is one of the most important public policies in any country. I’m well informed that Kenya is in the process of developing financing mechanisms for climate change through Climate Change Fund as provided for in Climate Change Act, 2016.

The national government is reported to be at the advanced levels in the process of issuing green bonds. Secondly, the national government through the national treasury is planning to mainstream climate change in all its projects and programmes.

County and national government must set aside resources towards adaptation and resilience from effects of climate change. This can be achieved through meaningful citizen participation during the policy formulation processes. Currently, the two levels of government are facilitating public forums to discuss performance, priorities, projections and ceilings for various sectors. This is happening under the Budget Policy Statement and County Fiscal Strategy Papers for 2018/2019 and for the medium term- for the next three years. These are spaces that citizens must take advantage of and if you are not invited, invite yourself and make your voice heard especially on climate change adaptation and access to basic services.