Kenyan delegates at the consultative meeting

Kenyan delegates at the consultative meeting

In November this year, different country representatives across development sectors will be meeting in Paris under the umbrella of COP21 to agree on how to proceed in reducing greenhouse gases – the main driver of climate change. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 at the earth summit, countries committed to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The commitment was within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Most of the UN member states have ratified it including the major economies and polluters. However, not all countries implemented the agreements. This was further followed by the Kyoto protocol in 1997 which was also ratified by many countries. While the protocol limited the green house gas emissions of industrialized nations, it excluded the big emerging economies like China. Akin to that, the United States of America declined to ratify it. Consequently the protocol failed to limit emissions of the world’s top polluters. It is due to the limitations of the previous interventions to address climate change that different stakeholders will be meeting in Paris towards the end of this year (2015) under the auspices of CPO21.The conference will seek to reach an agreement on targets for climate action after 2020, either in 2015 or 2030.

Like other countries on the road to France, Kenya is in the process of getting views from its citizens regarding the pressing issue of climate change in order to come up with a consolidated position, a position it will present in France. I was part of that process. I was part of the 100 delegates drawn from 47 counties that convened today at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi. This was the largest citizen consultation on climate and energy and it is the first of its kind in Kenya. The consultation was facilitated and funded by different partners led by The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, NETFUND, RENEWGEN and WWF among others.

From the consultations, it was evident that climate change is a real menace and measures should be undertaken to arrest the situation. Policy makers should come up with climate change friendly policies that will help in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. People should cultivate drought resistant crops and besides these, we came up with a raft of other measures addressing all sectors. With this, we made our contribution to Kenya’s road to France preparation.

Having been part of the 100 delegates who contributed their views on behalf of all Kenyans, I can only hope our contributions were not in vain. I hope delegates who will meet in Paris will do us good by representing us effectively.