Recently I attended a conference in Nairobi titled Strengthening Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in Kenya Plus organized by UKAID. The conference attended by senior government officials from the ministry of environment and conservation, Senior county government representatives, senate representation, some Private sector player and Civil society had some candid discussion on the realities of climate change and actions being taken by different players towards the theme of the discussion. Interesting part of the findings is that counties in Northern and Parts of Eastern Kenya and particularly to single out Wajir are doing a lot to help in mitigation and building requisite structures to enable their people and county in general cope with the effects of climate change. Obviously part of this is their realization that they have to do so much to alleviate the numerous challenges communities living in these areas face. The many times adverse weather and growing climate change effects have forced them to think on building resilience through appropriate investments in structures and systems that help the communities on the ground.
Overall, one can say there is increased knowledge and intents to tackle climate change even in this part of the world. But the efforts required are much more. Funding is at the core of this as to fight the huge devastating phenomenon a lot of investment in advocacy, awareness, and networking and in projects is needed. As a person who has interacted with many developmental partners and funds involved in fighting the Climate Change menace, I can tell the dearth in capacity in the global ecosystem involved in the process. The key element is lack of adequate funds and requisite capacity to have enough ability to control the effects and in building resilience. This in no way means that there are no efforts towards building the funding and capacity. In the contrary a lot is going on but just to understand that it takes time to adequately deal with such a gargantuan of a problem.
Third world countries like those in Africa alone cannot adequately address this phenomenon without global players that include Western governments, Ngos, Funds etc. Yet still Africa is one of the areas to suffer most of the effects of climate change. The pollutants or climate change causing effects obviously is mostly driven by the rich apart of the world or the fast industrializing nations that include China. Moreover, some of the destructive activities in African soil that include poor or polluting sourcing of energy that include charcoal, wood, coal and even petroleum have come into greater use in Africa. Urbanization which is growing in leap and bounds in third world countries that include Africa with the mostly poorly planned or slum areas pus congestion have negative impacts on the climate. Yet if you look at the global population patterns some of the fastest growing areas are in third world countries. Kenya for instance though not among the fastest is projected to get to over 70 million people in the 2030’s and 100 million people in the 2050’s. Some of the countries like Nigeria, Congo DRC, countries in Middle East, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh , Mexico, Uganda and several others will see huge population growth. This means more food and energy is needed. More technologies have to be deployed to ensure nutrition and good health is catered for. Yet with the threats of global climate change you cannot guarantee this. With that actions taken in real time and now are needed.
Therefore, from a vantage position I can tell there is a lot that is needed to be done and in good time. Luckily despite denials and sabotage from some quarters some so powerful in parts of the world that include powerful government players, rich corporations and individuals with interest in some sectors and industries whose interests are affected by such campaigns on Climate Change, there are sober brains that are more than keen to lend a hand to tackle this phenomenon that threaten our existence as a whole. Indeed there is a growing realization that action has to be taken by multiple players if we have to salvage or protect our planet. Indeed besides having adverse health effects, food insecurity it is also slowly destroying other critical sectors like tourism as the decimation of wildlife and adverse weather destruction of critical ecosystems means more pain to several other sectors. This being so everyone will be affected quite adversely.Therefore, it behooves all sectors and all industries to play a role in either or more of advocacy, financing and whatever other critical support to ensure the campaign on climate change effects mitigation and reduction or prevention is successful.
Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
The Writer is the leader of a Leading Renewable Energy Organisation in Africa, Researcher, Consultant, Chairman Consumer Downtown Association and also represents Several Global International Organisations in Renewable Energy Sector.