Friday, December 18, 2009

Kenya climate plan to cost KSh225bn

Mt Kenya's snow area. Mountain glaciers are melting at an alarming rate and if this continues, the fun of climbing this mountain may vanish forever.  FILE

Mt Kenya's snow area. Mountain glaciers are melting at an alarming rate and if this continues, the fun of climbing this mountain may vanish forever. FILE 

By DAVE OPIYO in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kenya requires at least US$ 3 billion (KSh225 billion) to adequately roll out the first phase of its recently launched climate change response strategy, the Nation has established.

Environment minister John Michuki said their financing requirements will however shoot up to US$ 20 billion by 2030 as they intensify their campaigns against global warming.

Kenya, like other developing countries, has been severely hit by the negative effects of climate change. It has, for instance, been experiencing the worst drought in three years leading to massive water and food shortages.

This follows the failure of short rains in the south eastern and coastal marginal agricultural lowlands and central highlands.

Even though weather experts had predicted that the country would experience El nino rains, this has failed to occur meaning that the country could now face an unprecedented food crisis next year, even higher costs of electricity and worse shortages of water because of poor rains.

Mr Michuki spoke in Copenhagen, Denmark during the re-launch of the strategy that outlines the steps the government intends to take to tackle the negative effects of climate change in the country.

He was accompanied his Cabinet colleagues Noah Wekesa (Forestry) and Moses Wetangula (Foreign Affairs) amongst other senior government officials.

The strategy was developed following six months of intensive countrywide consultations, where more than 5,000 representatives including the civil society, private sector, the media, indigenous communities, faith based organizations amongst others gave their views.

Emphasis

The document says key emphasis will be given to key sectors of the economy, which have so far been worst hit by the crisis. They include health, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, energy amongst others.

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says climate change will threaten economic growth and long-term prosperity, as well as survival of the most vulnerable populations, most of who live in developing countries.

Said Mr Michuki: “We have determined what we as a country must do to combat climate change. These are actions that must be taken immediately, even as we focus on a longer term horizon of 20 years.”

“This is an ambitious and comprehensive programme. It will not only address the adverse impacts of climate change on Kenya, but will also contribute significantly to taming global warming.”

According to the plan, the government intends to undertake the construction several health centres for pastoralists communities, coupled with the recruitment of about 24,000 technical staff to strengthen public health services across the country.

This, Mr Michuki said, was necessary due to an increase in climate change-driven ‘nomadism’, cross-border migrations and spread of diseases to new territories.

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