NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for increased investment in initiatives geared towards combating climate change.
The First Lady urged all stakeholders including the private sector to work together in ensuring that technological innovations that are central to climate change resilience are affordable and reach the most vulnerable communities.
“Technological innovations are indeed central to climate change resilience. There are, however, some innovations and technological solutions that are out of reach of the intended beneficiaries who continue to bear the brunt of adverse weather conditions,” she said.
The First Lady spoke last evening at a Nairobi hotel when she presided over the launch of the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) Strategic Plan for the period 2020 to 2025.
KCIC is an organization funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide incubation, financing and awareness that empower the private sector to deliver innovative climate change solutions.
The First Lady said climate change is a global problem that should no longer be an inconvenient truth.
“No longer can we continue to talk; we need more action and more investment to protect our environment.
“We all need to do so much more in our own capacities – in our homes, in our communities – to turn around the climate change agenda,” she said.
The First Lady said the government is taking bold policy, practice and innovation measures to protect the country against the risks and negative impacts of climate change but emphasized the need for a change of tack to effectively tackle the problem.
“Kenya is vulnerable to climate change and that calls for us to think differently, to act differently and with urgency because climate-related disasters, particularly extreme droughts and floods, are becoming more frequent,” the First Lady said as she warned that the climate change problem will get worse if more is not done to address the situation.
She expressed the need for Kenyans to embrace the national target and plant more trees to achieve the 10 percent forest cover by 2022 and urged public and private entities to create green jobs and increase access to clean energy.
Some of the measures taken by the government against climate change are contained in various policy and legal documents including Vision 2030, the Climate Change Act and Action Plans as well as the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta commended KCIC for their support to SME’s and communities in the country, especially in access to clean and sustainable water supply, and clean energy through the use of solar and biogas as alternatives to biomass energy.
“I applaud the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre for the important work you are doing in developing climate change solutions,” the First Lady said as she thanked the consortium of partners including Danida, the European Union, the World Bank and UK Aid for providing seed funding to support KCIC’s programmes.
She, at the same time, appealed for support for the country’s youth who she said possess great innovative ideas for renewable clean energy, agribusiness and waste management but lack adequate financial and technical support needed to incubate the ideas.
“I urge us all to support them by offering technical education options and investing in their ideas because they hold the promise of creating clean and green jobs,” she said.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Kenya Simon Mordue announced a Shs 5 billion support programme to KCIC that will boost eight innovation hubs in different counties.
The EU head said through the new programme, his organization will provide grants to 2400 businesses that will lead to the creation of 17,000 jobs.
“What is most important to me is that these jobs are primarily going to target women and youth entrepreneurs,” the EU Ambassador said.
Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsen said the 2020 to 2025 strategic plan will provide direction and guidance on how KCIC will continue to support innovators, start ups as well as small and medium enterprises in Kenya.
“It is our hope that these businesses will become sustainable and ensure the creation of decent jobs, and that Kenyans will have access to clean, affordable and sufficient water and energy,” Amb Knudsen said.
Other speakers included Environment and Forestry CS Keriako Tobiko, KCIC Chairman Prof. Izael Da Silva and CEO Edward Mungai.