Wakhungu sounds alarm over climate change impact

February 18, 2014 7:50 am
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Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Prof Judi Wakhungu hands over a plaque to the Kenya Forestry Research Institute Director, Dr Ben E. N. Chikamai, awarded by the United Nations Development Programme in recognition of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation jointly with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Looking on is the JICA country representative Hideo Eguchi/COURTESY
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources Prof Judi Wakhungu hands over a plaque to the Kenya Forestry Research Institute Director, Dr Ben E. N. Chikamai, awarded by the United Nations Development Programme in recognition of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation jointly with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Looking on is the JICA country representative Hideo Eguchi/COURTESY
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Judi Wakhungu, has raised concerns over the increasing threat posed by climate change in the region, and called for concerted efforts to mitigate and curb its impact.

Wakhungu noted that the effects of climate change already being experienced in Sub-Saharan Africa include floods, increased frequency and severity of drought, increased incidences of human and livestock diseases, food and water insecurity.

“The impact of climate change can only be minimised if we develop and promote technologies that can adapt to a changing environment, a process that will need sound decision support mechanisms from researchers and policymakers for effective implementation,” she said on Monday during the opening of the Regional Policy Level Seminar on Mitigating Climate Change in Africa through Social Forestry held at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute.

This is the second Policy Level forum under the theme “Mitigating Climate Change in Africa through Social Forestry” held in Kenya under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Third Country Training Programme, with the first being held in 2010.

JICA has sponsored 19 Regional Training Courses with over 400 officers trained from 20 different countries in the region. The course targets policy makers who are the chief executive officers or heads of organisations from 20 countries where regional training course participants are drawn.

“More than ever before, the world today is faced with many environmental challenges, most of which can be attributed to climate change,” noted Wakhungu, adding that global warming presents a significant threat to achievement of many developmental goals, especially those related to eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, and promotion of environmental sustainability.

She said that a major challenge for much of Sub-Saharan Africa is how to formulate agricultural technologies that can resolve conflict between sustainable and improved livelihood, and environment conservation. She observed the seminar comes at an opportune time when the world is developing strategies to combat the effects of climate change which, if left unchecked, will be a great threat to not just the environment but also to mankind’s existence.

The five-day seminar aims at enhancing the capacities of participating countries to practically mitigate climate change through implementation of participatory social forestry extension methodologies.

It will focus on the region’s climate change response strategies with the aim of producing a new comprehensive and practical training curriculum on adaptation measures to climate change within the region.

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