Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kibaki leads strong Kenya team to climate talks

By DAVE OPIYO in Copenhagen, Denmark

President Kibaki will lead a strong 65- man Kenyan delegation to the ongoing climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Nation has established.

Among those on the President’s entourage to the global meeting expected to establish a deal to curb global warming is Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Speaker Kenneth Marende and four Cabinet ministers.

They ministers are: Environment's John Michuki, his Forestry counterpart Dr Noah Wekesa, Moses Wetangula (Foreign Affairs) and Mr Kiraitu Murungi (Energy).

Mr Odinga was expected to arrive at the Danish capital Wednesday evening, sources familiar with his itinerary told the Nation.

According to a provisional list of participants, also expected to be in the Kenyan delegation is assistant minister in the office of the Prime Minister, Mr Alfred Khangati, four PSs: Mohammed Isahakia (PM’s office), Mr Lawrence Lenayapa (Environment), Mr A.M Mwachai (Wildlife) and Mr Micheni Japhet Ntiba (Wildlife).

The list, prepared by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also contains the names of three MPs, but the number is set to rise with the arrival of others – who are members of the Pan African Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.

They include Mr Mutava Musyimi, the chair of the Lands and Natural Resources Committee, Prof Margaret Kamar who is also the Vice Chair of the Pan African Parliamentary Network on Climate Change and Mr Erestus Mureithi, the Ol-Kalau MP.

Already in Denmark are MPs Musikari Kombo (Nominated), Wilbur Otichilo (Emuhaya) Kiema Kilonzo (Mutitu) and David Koech (Mosop).

Also in the delegation is the National Environmental Management Authority Director General Dr Muusya Mwinzi, Kenya’s ambassador to Spain and Denmark Mr Kamau Macharia and Mr Purity Muhindi respectively.

Others are: Mr Richard John Mwendandu, Director, Multilateral Environmental Director Agreements, Ministry of Environment, Mr Joseph Mukabana, Deputy Director, Meteorological Department, Mr Jaspat Agatsiva Lumasia, Director Department of Resources Surveys and Remote Sensing, Mr Hiroyuki Hino, Economic Advisor PM’s office, among other senior government officials.

Kenya has also a huge presence of environmental lobby groups that are also expected to pile more pressure to negotiators to ensure that a legally binding deal is realised at the end of the UN talks.

Reports indicate that President Kibaki was expected to arrive at the conference next week, on the eve of the high level summit, where heads of state will be required to endorse whatever decision key diplomats and ministers have agreed upon.

He will be among more than 110 heads of state, including US President Barrack Obama, gracing the event as announced on Monday during the opening ceremony by Danish Prime Minister Lars lokke Rasmussen.

The Kenyan delegation is expected to push for a strong and legally binding agreement that would supplant the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012.

They are also expected strengthen the African voice at the conference that ends next week and ensure that their demands are met.

African countries want their industrialised counterparts to be compelled to provide adequate financial assistance to developing states to enable them access climate-friendly technologies that would assist them combat global warming.

According to proposals by climate change lobby groups, the continent requires at least $200 billion a year, in annual public funding, to adequately and effectively meet these challenges.

Kenya has already indicated that it requires at least $20 billion annually to enable it tackle the problem.

The money, Environment minister John Michuki said recently, will be used to implement the various strategies to combat the negative effects of climate change as had been outlined in the National Climate Change Response Strategy, which was last week launched by Mr Odinga.

The strategy outlines the evidence and impact of climate change in Kenya particularly on key socio-economic sectors and physical infrastructure.

The PM said during the launch that the government was seriously addressing the issue of climate change especially after a report undertaken by the Stockholm Environment Institute revealed that the country can expect to loose up to 3 percent of its GDP per year by 2030 if remedial measures are not urgently taken.

Mr Odinga said the country has experienced serious droughts in the last three to four years, which have compromised hydro- power generation, food security and led to human and livestock deaths.


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