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Copenhagen is do or die, says Kenya PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27- Prime Minister Raila Odinga has described the forthcoming Copenhagen talks on climate change as a “do or die” for Africa.

Speaking on his return from a tour of Europe and Asia, Mr Odinga said Africa must come up with a united bid to the crucial talks where they are expected to push for a special fund to help the continent mitigate climate change effects.

“Copenhagen is a do-or-die situation because it creates a forum where nations can push for reasonable funding that can secure the adaptation and mitigation of the environmental concerns in developing world,” he said.

He told a news conference that his tour of France, China and Switzerland presented a forum to sell the Kenyan dream to the developed World ahead of the global conference on climate change scheduled for December in Copenhagen.

The Premier however challenged leaders of the developing nations to push for tangible and reasonable funding on environmental conservation initiatives to realise the desired impact of the activities.

He said the $100 billion proposed by British Premier Gordon Brown for mitigation of environmental issues in the third world ahead of the conference was insufficient.

Mr Odinga said Kenya is expected to play a crucial role in building consensus in what is shaping up as a standoff between developed and developing countries before the December conference.

“Different countries are asking for different figures to support programmes to adapt to climate change. I know that Mr Brown has proposed a $100 million fund which has been challenged from different quarters,” he said.

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“I know its much lower than the AU is asking for. We should advance a figure in which we will come out of Copenhagen with an agreement.”

The Premier cited the Mau complex conservation initiative as a case study which required sound financial resources at later phases to amicably restore the degraded water tower.

At the same time, the PM said the issue of compensation should not be an impediment to the rehabilitation and conservation of Mau Forest complex.

He said there is a likelihood that the process of rehabilitating the water towers might be affected by the negative reports.

“Let us not be talking about money, let us not say we can not conserve our environment because we have no money let us not put money ahead of conservation this issue is so crucial, so real, so important otherwise we will turn this country into a desert.”

The PM assured that the government will pay compensation to legal settlers in the forest.

He said the first phase of the evictions which is set to begin soon does not require those affected to be compensated, but said the government will provide funding for compensation once they get to that stage.

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