, GENEVA, Jun 16 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday asked African Governments to introduce lessons on environmental protection at early stages of education as a way to shield the continent from ravages of climate change.
The PM said experts should socialise children in the very early stages of education on the values of preserving the natural environment and consequences of destroying it.
The PM called for a school curriculum that sensitises children as young as five years on the pertinent issues of environmental degradation.
"The foundation for tomorrow must be laid today. We must therefore start creating, nurturing and inculcating a culture of environmental awareness in our future generations," Mr Odinga said.
The Premier also asked the developed world to own up to their role in polluting the environment and support poor nations that are struggling to cope with the consequences of the pollution.
Referring to the Government’s efforts to save the Mau Forest Complex, Mt Kenya and the Aberdares, among other water towers in Kenya, Mr Odinga said environmental degradation posed bigger risk to Africa than the threat of weapons of mass destruction that developed countries worry about.
He said Kenya is witnessing a surge in cases of highland Malaria, experiencing regular and prolonged droughts, followed in quick succession by furious floods, all of which consume government resources.
He said competition for resources is depleting Africa’s natural environment adding that the degradation of the Kenyan water towers could destabilise echo systems and cause political instability in several countries in the region.
"Natural disasters cause poverty, which in turn cause more disasters. Disasters cause poverty, which leads to more disasters. Too many times, leaders stand by and witness the environment being degraded because it is politically expedient. But it is often only expedient for a while after which the degradation turns into disasters with immense political consequences," Mr Odinga told the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
"The water towers we are tryng to protect have immense impact on Africa’s ecosystems. Some of them are the sources of rivers that feed Lake Victoria, which in turn is the source of River Nile, which is a lifeline to millions of people outside Kenya."
Mr Odinga was addressing the second UN Session on Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the forum, Mr Odinga announced the formation of an Africa-wide organisation to push for environmental protection across the continent.
The organisation called Black and Green: Ready to Lead Campaign will be formally launched in October to undertake sustained marketing, public relations and awareness campaigns at all levels of society across Africa on environmental protection, Mr Odinga said.
The PM asked developed countries to save the planet by supporting efforts by the poor countries to save their natural environments that are under threat of degradation.
He called for increased investment in disaster risk reduction and asked donors to support nations that are struggling to preserve the environment instead of rushing in with donations when the degradation has led to disasters.
The UN has set 2015 as the date by which nations have to reduce by half deaths resulting from disasters and risks.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told the delegates who included heads of state and government that too many people were dying from disasters linked to environmental degradation while too little attention is paid to the phenomenon.
The Prime Minister called on African leaders to develop a single position on global warming and how to deal with it before they travel to Coppenhagen later this year where the issue will be discussed at a global forum.
He announced that his counterpart, Youssouf Saleh Abbas, the Prime Minister of Chad has taken the role of leading the Central African region towards one position on global warming and similar efforts are going on across the continent.
The PM was accompanied to the conference by Special Progrmmes Minister Dr Naomi Shaban.