President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the Finance Bill 2018 at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO/PSCU
By PATRICK MAYOYO
President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to chair the National Climate Change Council more than one year since the law establishing it was passed; details concerning the matter have emerged.
Failure by the President to chair this crucial body meant to address issues related to effects of climate change in the country has in effect crippled the functions of the National Climate Change Council.
Details of this developments emerged on October 22, 2019, when the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and ASAL, Mr Eugene Wamalwa, appeared on Citizen TV to discuss how prepared Kenya is to deal with effects of climate change.
During the television interview, the CS’s response on the matter was not satisfactory. Kenyans took to social media to criticize him some saying that he was not being sincere. He could not explain why despite the weather man issuing warnings of expected floods; we still lost lives and properties.
Kenyans have lost thousands of livestock due to both drought and floods as a result of effects of climate change. PHOTO/RED CROSS
What Mr Wamalwa did not mention is that three years ago parliament passed a piece of legislation called Climate Change Act, 2016. According to the Act, section 3 (1) The Act shall be applied for the development, management, implementation and regulation of mechanisms to enhance climate change resilience and low carbon development for the sustainable development of Kenya.
This Act is expected to be applied in all sectors of economy on matters related to climate change. This Act further established a body called National Climate Change Council which is supposed to be chaired by the President and the Deputy President as his vice chair. Mr Wamalwa, is expected to be the secretary to the Council.
Among many mandates that the Council has, is to oversee and approve the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017. It is also expected to advice the national and county government on legislative, policy and other measures necessary for climate change response and attaining low carbon climate change resilient development.
All these activities have however been slowed down or halted because to date the council has not met, not even once. This fund was supposed to be used by counties and other entities to support communities that are already suffering. Unfortunately, that money amounting to around 1.8 trillion over the next five years cannot be released until the council sits and approves it.
Floods ravaging some parts of the country. PHOTO/RED CROSS
According to Mr Wamalwa, Kenya has done her best and even received global recognition for it. He went further to mention the interventions that government has put in place to avert the effects of climate change.
One of the interventions is that the national government has institutionalized legal framework to deal with climate change. He further suggested that county governments should set a fund in place to build resilience. Water borne diseases and malaria now exists in places where they were unheard of.
Mr Wamalwa further explained that when overwhelmed, the county governments are expected to ask for help from the national government and when the national government is overwhelmed it should declare a national disaster. Some parts of Kenya are completely impassable due to floods hence interfering with peoples movements.
Over 100,000 people have also been displaced this year. In 2017/2018, 3.4 million people were left starving due to effects of climate change, while thousands of livestock and hundreds of acres of crops have been lost in different parts of the country due to drought and floods.
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