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FEATURE: Adaptation action key to Kenya’s INDC


As the international climate negotiations at COP 21 fast approach, Stephen King’uyu, Kenya National Climate Change Action Plan coordinator, looks back at Kenya’s pledge and how adaptation actions will complement the country’s development programme.

Kenya, which is one of the most climate vulnerable countries, submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC on 24 July 2015. Kenya’s INDC has set out a goal to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, despite the fact that Kenya contributes a mere 0.1% to the total global emissions. The INDC is Kenya’s first official communication to the UNFCCC on its contribution to the global mitigation goal. The INDC places significant importance on adaptation to cushion the country’s people and systems from the adverse impacts of climate change.

The significance of this submission did not go unnoticed by the international community. US President Barack Obama commended Kenya during his visit to the country in July 2015 for being “a leader in clean energy, and for announcing its post-2020 target to limit carbon emissions as part of our fight against climate change”.

Kenya plans to build on the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS 2010), the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP 2013 – 2017) and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) that is currently being finalised. These policies and plans set out a low carbon climate resilient development pathway for Kenya in line with Vision 2030, the country’s sustainable development blue print. The vision aims to transform the country into a newly industrialised middle-income country by 2030.

A key element to achieve the country’s long-term development goal is the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation to the Medium Term Plans for the implementation of Vision 2030. Through the INDC, Kenya aspires to introduce a comprehensive programme of adaptation action, which will build resilience to climate change across the different sectors and communities by supporting livelihoods and economic wellbeing.

Kenya is already implementing adaptation and mitigation actions recommended in the NCCAP and will continue to do so. The priority mitigation activities being promoted and implemented cover all the six IPCC sectors, and include:

  • Expansion in geothermal, solar and wind energy production, other renewables and clean energy options.
  • Enhancement of energy and resource efficiency across the different sectors.
  • Progressing towards achieving and maintaining a tree cover of at least 10% of the country’s land area.
  • Clean energy technologies to reduce overreliance on wood fuels.
  • Low carbon and efficient transportation systems.
  • Climate smart agriculture (CSA) in line with the newly launched National CSA Framework.
  • Sustainable waste management systems.

The planning process on adaptation and mitigation is built on the NCCAP and the NAP and will be implemented across various sectors by the national and county governments, and other players through the coordination of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources through the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS). The INDC also draws particular attention to the institutional reforms proposed in the Climate Change Bill (2014) to enhance the coordination of climate change action. These include a National Climate Change Council chaired by the President, and the establishment of a Kenya Climate Fund. The INDC also highlights the importance of public consultations and gender mainstreaming in its implementation.

The achievement of the reduction target by 2030 is contingent on international support in form of finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building. The full implementation cost is estimated at over US$40 billion by 2030.

The INDC was prepared with technical support from Ricardo AEA, LTS International, Energeia and WRI. The project was funded by the CDKN; with the stakeholder consultation process being supported by the US Government through the UNDP administered Low Emissions and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) project.

The project will continue to support the Government of Kenya with the delivery of capacity building and awareness raising workshops. The objective is to increase understanding on how implementing the actions in the national plans will be meeting the target set in the INDC and the respective roles of each stakeholder group. The project will also provide implementation plans for both mitigation and adaptation actions.

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