Kenya cautions on Copenhagen deal

October 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Environment Minister John Michuki has expressed fears that African nations may get a raw deal at the crucial climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

Mr Michuki said on Tuesday that if the continent did not develop concrete and fully budgeted programmes prior to the meeting, it would come out with nothing at the meeting.

“We should spend the remaining time on projects and numbers because it is in Copenhagen that projects and numbers will meet the financial gurus of this world,” the Minister said.

“If we shall be told to go back home and work out on our programmes and projects, we shall have wasted our meager resources for two weeks and come out there with nothing,” he added.

He said Africa must be fully prepared to justify its requests at the meeting to allow financial flows to the continent adding that there was need to make a firm decision on the amount required to address climate change issues in Africa.

In June this year, the African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate change said it would demand at the talks that the Annex 1 countries (developed countries) committed a minimum $200 billion annually for adaptation and mitigation of climate change in developing countries.

“Because we could talk about degradation, adaptation, we can talk about mitigation but that will not take us anywhere in Copenhagen,” Mr Michuki said.

The Minister was speaking at the African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Change where he said the industrialised nations should leave the developing countries to come up with their own solutions to the climate change problem.

“The developed countries, I must give a warning here that they should leave Africa to come up with their own proposals because we see a lot of activities taking place outside national policies which can only succeed in creating confusion at Copenhagen,” he said.

He said Kenya alone would require $20 billion annually to finance 10 key sectors that include agriculture, water, energy, health and forestry to cope with the impacts of climate change and so the $67 billion estimated as the cost of adaptation for Africa was negligible if they were to address the monumental challenges of climate change.

He said there was also need to focus on mitigation “which the developed world seems to be avoiding.”

“These are the offending countries (highest polluters) and they are emphasising on adaptation which although desirable for Africa will be very expensive for us,” he said.

“We are being persuaded to adopt adaptation instead of mitigation and yet mitigation is what we can afford better. Whereas we are prepared to have a mix of all this, ours should be more of mitigation rather than the others,” the Minister added.

At the same time, President Mwai Kibaki urged African leaders to be fully involved in the climate change debate to push for a fair and just deal that caters for Africa’s interests and needs.

The Head of State said it was necessary that appropriate policies, laws and strategies were developed by the countries of the world in the crucial summit.

President Kibaki said domestication of the multi-national environmental agreements required collaboration and partnerships among governments.

“Reducing carbon emissions through our policies and our daily actions is not a matter of choice, it is but an obligation,” he said.

African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate change President Cyprian Aulu said parliamentarians should also get fully engaged in formulation of responsive policies to climate change.

“As overseers of the national budgets, we MP’s must ensure that sufficient financing is available to achieve a great mitigation and adaptation actions without needing to divert finances from other key national priorities such as poverty, health and education,” Mr Aulu said.

The Copenhagen talks are expected to come up with a new climate deal to replace the Kyoto protocol which was adopted in December 1997 and entered into force in February 2005.

The Kyoto Protocol which sets binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has been signed and ratified by 184 parties of the UN Climate Convention with United States as a notable exception.


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