A shared battle against climate change


Kenya, just like any other country, has seen a significant temperature increase of 0.3°C to 0.6°C per decade, impacting key sectors such as agriculture and water resources. This rapid warming trend was a major focus at the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS23) in Nairobi last month that, among others, highlighted the link between climate change, regional food systems, and economic transformation.

Concurrently, the 2023 Africa Food Systems Forum (AFS Forum 23) in Dar es Salaam stressed the urgent need for climate-responsive solutions by African governments to address the continent’s food system challenges.

Kenya's President, William Ruto, has come through on his promise to explore greener and environmentally friendly fertilisers alongside a 10-year initiative to grow 15 billion trees by 2032, raising Kenya's tree cover to 30 percent, enhancing carbon sequestration, restoring 5.1 million hectares of deforested areas, and benefiting households as 30 percent of these trees will be fruit, nut, and fodder species.

Dr Ruto has also initiated trials for biodegradable tubing bags in line with a United Nations resolution from UNEA 5.2. Meanwhile, Kenya is at the forefront of climate change efforts in Africa, with the Climate Change Act of 2016, and recent amendments to enhance its carbon market regime, driving its responses.

The government is also actively implementing the third cycle of the National Climate Change Action Plan to promote low-carbon, climate-resilient development.

Yet even as we celebrate these great interventions, we must recognise that climate change is a complex issue that no single country can solve independently; a collaboration involving partnerships across national governments, the private sector and the international community is required for rapid transformation.

It is refreshing to note that African leaders are focusing their development strategies on sustainable solutions at both the national and continental levels.

The Africa Environment Action Plan, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative all indicate the continent’s strategic commitment to addressing the climate crisis.

The Nairobi ACS23 Declaration comprises 23 commitments, primarily addressing policy areas related to investment attraction, economic development (with a focus on youth empowerment), enhanced continental cooperation, increased renewable energy financing, support for small-scale farmers, and the expedited implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032).

Notably, the Declaration emphasises the need for global collaboration to secure adequate capital for both development and climate initiatives, echoing the principles of the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, which aims to ensure that no country must choose between its development goals, climate action and the basic human right to feed people.

The time is now for environmental, energy and food systems experts to resolutely come together to help the continent fight hunger, and land degradation and ensure economic prosperity.

Our countries are up against a huge task of transforming food systems to feed people, to rehabilitate and safeguard the environment and ensure resilience to shocks caused by the ongoing climate change.

There is no doubt that African leaders are more committed than ever before to building on the lessons of the recent crisis that our continent has faced to deliver stronger resilience for people, the environment, and our economies. This will require a stronger collaboration.

Agra has developed a suite of transferable assets in the technology, system-strengthening partnerships and models that can benefit women, youth, and smallholder farmers in Kenya and across the continent.

The organisation is enthusiastic about collaborating with Kenya, like-minded institutions and the private sector to unlock potential here and across the continent.

With a shared vision and united mission leveraging stronger collaboration across sectors and countries, we are confident of paving the way for growth, prosperity, and lasting change in this diverse country.

Ms Tuya is Kenya's Environment Cabinet Secretary. Dr Kalibata is the president of AGRA.

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