NEWS: Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan is officially launched
Energy, enthusiasm and optimism were three words that stood out at the launch of the Kenyan National Climate Change Action Plan yesterday.
The Plan is a dense document – running to some 200 pages with further annexes. But it is also much more than a document. At the launch, I was most struck by the clarity of the call for action on climate change arising from the Plan. The document will be read by many analysts across the world. It should receive acclaim for its coherence and rigour, and the thoroughness of its technical underpinning. As well as the core Plan, there are detailed technical reports, many supported by CDKN. These cover familiar issues of adaptation and mitigation, reporting and knowledge management, as well as finance. The process of developing the Plan has also helped to enhance climate change capacity across the Government of Kenya.
What is most notable about the Plan – and particularly evident in the discussions at the launch itself – is the Government of Kenya’s vision for a ‘low carbon climate resilient development pathway’. It was honestly acknowledged that the omission of climate change as a key development issue in the production of the Kenyan Medium Term Plan published in 2008 – Vision 2030 – was an oversight.
It was significant to hear Dr Julius Muia, the Executive Secretary of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), declare that climate change would be a permanent standing item for NESC in the future. NESC is the apex body that coordinates all social and economic policy in the country. Furthermore, the Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 emphasised that climate will be a central issue in the renewed Medium Term Plan that will be launched in the coming months. This will create a direct and robust delivery framework for the Action Plan and ensure climate change is treated as an economy-wide issue. It makes the Plan far more credible and resilient than if delivered in isolation.
At the launch, the richness of the participation that has led to the Plan was once again clear – a consistent theme throughout. Consultations were conducted at county level throughout the country in line with the new Constitution. In November 2012 over 275 people, including representatives from all of Kenya’s 47 counties, gathered in Nairobi to validate the Plan (to find out more read CDKN’s article and watch a video on the validation event).
The presence of school children at the launch, supported by the Climate Action Programme for Schools and Youth (CAPSAY), reminded us that climate is an intergenerational issue. It was repeatedly emphasised that the Plan was explicitly intended for the benefit of the common person, and civil society groups were strongly represented on the day by John Kioli of the Kenyan Climate Change Working Group.
Looking forward, the private sector was flagged as critical to the implementation of the plan. The Kenya Private Sector Association (KEPSA) will be working closely with CDKN in the coming months to increase the depth of understanding of climate change as a business issue. The Plan’s specific opportunities for the private sector will be identified as Kenya embarks on its journey of green growth – described by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Ali Mohamed, not just as an idea but a survival strategy.