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COG Chair Anne Waiguru Urges UN to Support Counties Establish Climate Innovation Hubs

Unless significant steps to reverse effects and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the drought situation in the country may continue to intensify, Council of Governors (COG) chair Anne Waiguru has said.

Waiguru says no one knows for sure what impact, climate change will have on future food supplies in counties and thus local communities need to be supported to help in creation of green investments.

Speaking in Nairobi during a round table on climate action with Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group Amina Mohammed, the governor urged the global body to prioritize extending support to County Governments to develop County Climate innovation hubs.

She said the innovation hubs would support youth and women contribution to climate change adaption and mitigation.

“We acknowledge your visit to Kenya as you lead the run-up to Conference of Parties to harness the Africa collective call and actions in the wake of ecological and climate emergency as well as voice the national aspirations on climate action,” she said.

Waiguru said counties focus on climate action has been necessitated by the adverse impact of climate change on livelihoods and partnership will help draw a climate compatible development pathway essential towards unlocking Kenya's potential since sectors of the economy are climate sensitive.

Currently, she said drought situation in Kenya has continued to worsen in 20 of the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) counties. This has been attributed to failure of four consecutive rain seasons with a projected 4.35 million people estimated to be affected by October 2022.

The COG chair said due to climate change, marginalized and vulnerable communities in counties are now facing greater difficulties from extreme weather which is manifesting as; droughts, floods, landslides, cold snaps among others

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that Africa is highly vulnerable and adversely impacted by climate change with reported increase in diseases and pests and hotter temperatures.

“County Governments are assigned specific functions and responsibilities including implementation of national policies on environment, climate change, natural resources management, forestry, soil and water conservation and disaster risk management,” she noted.

Waiguru noted that the County Governments have constrained financial and human capacity to address the overwhelming challenges of climate change and therefore need for development UN support to enhance their capacity to mobilize additional financing including green and blue bonds.

“I therefore propose that the UN deliberately collaborate with County Governments to enhance their capacity to mobilize additional financing including green and blue bonds,” the Chair said.

The governor said counties requires support to undertake restoration of Forest, watershed and Rangelands, develop water storage and treatment plants to increase access to portable water, construction of dams. She said there is need for commercialization of the livestock sector to enhance productive livestock value chain in the ASALS counties.

She said County Governments have made significant strides in advancing the climate agenda by taking action to combat climate change and its impacts by establishing County Climate Change Funds through enacting requisite legislations, allocation of resources intended to finance mitigation and adaptation activities and establishment of Climate Change Units.

 “All the County Governments have designated County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) in charge of Climate Change and localization of climate Action at the Community level- established 26 sub-County climate change-planning committees. 30 Counties have ward climate change planning committees,” she noted.

The chair said a number of County Governments have prepared an inclusive contingency and emergency operations plans, climate vulnerability plans to ensure long lasting solutions to recurrent drought situations in Kenya.

Waiguru asked UN to consider counties in the proposed review for the United Nations Sustainable Development and Cooperation Framework to incorporate the County Governments Integrated Development Plans.

“We hope the review will also consider the scope of coverage to ensure that no county is left behind, the strategic positioning of County governments is very important in National, Regional and International dialogues and Forums. This is to encourage Africa-centric candid and honest dialogue on climate change in the global space for sub-national governments on driving a pathway to low emissions and resilient development at the local level,” she added.

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Anne Waiguru COG Council of Governors UN Waiguru

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