Mending fences? President Kenyatta champions UN climate change agenda in Marrakech

November 16, 2016 1:12 pm
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President Kenyatta speaking at COP22 in Marrakech/COURTESY
President Kenyatta speaking at COP22 in Marrakech/COURTESY

, MARRAKECH, Morocco, Nov 16 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the world to remain committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The President said his Cabinet has already approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement and now awaits the final ratification from Parliament.

“I urge other Parties that have not yet ratified the Agreement to do so,” President Kenyatta said, pointing out that the rolling out of the implementation of the Agreement will benefit the present and future generations.

President Kenyatta was speaking in Marrakech, Morocco, when he addressed a high-level segment of the first climate change conference “for Action” after the historic Paris Agreement last year. The session was attended by delegations from 190 countries, including more than 100 leaders.

The President welcomed the coming into force of the Paris Agreement, saying it will provide the much-needed impetus to address climate change for a safer future.

“This universal Agreement is the beginning of renewed transparent enhanced global ambitious action and support to address the challenge of climate change in the short and long terms,” the President said.

He added: “We should aim to ensure achievement of the long-term global goal of stabilising the global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial levels, which gives hope to the most vulnerable countries and communities.”

The Head of State appreciated the Agreement’s linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that include ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

President Kenyatta emphasised the need to synchronise the implementation processes of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs.

He said the development of the rulebook to guide the implementation of the Agreement must keep in focus its objective, principles and provisions of the convention, including equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The President said the rulebook must also ensure parity between mitigation and adaptation, taking into consideration the increased burden for adaptation in developing countries.

“The process should also take into consideration the obligations of developed country Parties to provide additional, predictable and sustainable support in terms of finance, technology and capacity building to meet the adaptation and mitigation needs of the developing country Parties,” the President said.

Noting that Climate change continues to adversely impact Kenya’s socio-economic sectors, President Kenyatta said the country has made its contribution to combating environmental challenges.

“Kenya submitted an ambitious intended nationally determined contribution within the context of the pre-2020 ambition and the Paris Agreement, even though our contribution is a mere 0.1% of the total global emission,” the President said.

The President informed the conference that Kenya now has a Climate Change Act and a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) that were developed through multi-stakeholder engagement and contribute to the national implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The two build on the foundation laid down by the National Climate Change Action Plan (2013-2017), through a comprehensive and inclusive process.

“The Act strengthens climate change governance, institutional arrangements, and mainstreaming of climate change into sectoral planning, budgeting and implementation at all levels of government,” the President said.

To build resilience and enhance adaptive capacities to the impacts of climate change, President Kenyatta said Kenya’s national adaptation plan contains sector strategic adaptation actions for each planning sectors taking into account that all sectors are vulnerable to climate change.

The country’s domestic measures and actions to address climate change include expansion in geothermal, solar, wind and other renewables and clean energy options.

President Kenyatta said Kenya has also made progress towards achieving and maintaining a tree cover of at least 10 per cent of the country’s land area while encouraging low carbon and efficient transportation systems.

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