Vision 2030 vs climate change

October 13, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, October 13 – Kenya’s Vision 2030, launched in June this year will cost the country about Sh1.9 trillion to implement.

The long-term development plan will be implemented through three key pillars; economic pillar intended to speed up growth to 10 percent, social pillar aimed to achieve just, equitable and cohesive social development and a political pillar, which will reinforce a responsible democratic political system.

However, environmentalists are faulting the plan, complaining that it did not put into consideration the issue of climate change.

“Things will be very different 20 years from now because the climate is changing quite rapidly and almost every sector of our economy will be impacted on. So if someone is writing about Vision 2030 and they don’t even mention this, it is unfortunate,” says Professor Ritchard Odingo, Vice Chairman of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Professor Odingo accuses the vision’s planners of not being sensitive to issues of climate change.

“If we are talking about how we want to change our economy and do not refer to the likely changes that may make that plan unworkable then it is subject to criticism,” he told Capital News.

But immediate former Environment Permanent Secretary Professor James Ole Kiyiapi dismisses the remarks as being alarmist.

“Of course climate change is a serious problem but what they are not saying is that nobody can make exact predictions. There are some other models that show rainfall might actually increase in some areas,” states Professor Kiyiapi.

Professor Kiyiapi argues that the adaptation to create resilience is the key through changing our practices to respond to this unpredictable situation.

Professor Odingo on the other hand insists that all the assumptions put into the plan will go wrong if the predicted climate variability come to be. 

“For example we are assuming that we will always have water in the Tana River and we have put all our hydro power stations on it and what makes that river run throughout the year is the glaciers on top of Mt Kenya and these glaciers are melting very fast,” he warns.

“So whoever is talking about vision 2030 assuming that there will be power from the Tana River is fooling themselves.”

Professor Kiyiapi’s only reservation with the plan is that agriculture was placed as key to the Economic Pillar.

“This should not have been the case because a pillar is something that supports. What should have been the pillar is environment itself because agriculture and tourism which are primary within the economic pillar are all supported by the environment,” he says.

He says the ministry is working with the meteorological department and scientists to create different scenarios of climate change like if there was too much or little rainfall and suggest the appropriate responses to them.

“We also need to come up with priority interventions; the things that we must do to cushion the country against the negative impacts of climate change,” Professor Kiyiapi adds.
“So yes, climate change is a problem and yes it is going to affect the Vision 2030 but nobody can really say to what extent because there are a lot of unknowns,” he emphasizes.

He says the Vision is one way of helping Kenya for the first time focus on its programs, investments and interventions.

“I think that is much better than business as usual, if they say Vision 2030 cannot be realised, then what are they proposing?” he poses.

Professor Odingo recommends a revised vision, which is more realistic and seeks alternatives for the negative impacts of climate change.

He says this does not necessarily have to be expensive because it can be done within normal government planning

“A lot of the material in the vision did not even originate from Kenya so we should have some homegrown planning where we put in our realities,” he suggests.

“No plan is cast in stone.”


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