May 12, 2012

Africa: Kenya first in continent to have climate change law

KENYA is set to become the first African country to establish an independent Climate Change Authority through the enactment of a law this year, the Parliamentary Network for Renewable Energy and Climate Change (Panerecc) has said. Panerecc chairman David Koech said the authority will be established by the Climate Change Bill, a private members' bill now in Speaker Kenneth Marende's office awaiting to be forwarded to the AG's office for publication.

The authority will advise the national and county governments on legislation and other measures on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The authority to be managed by a board will also coordinate between government and non-state actors on issues of climate change among other functions, including carrying out public awareness programmes. "The bill will provide solutions to most of the problems the country is facing today once passed into law," said Koech, who is Mosop MP.

Emuhaya MP Wilbur Otichillo, the initiator of the bill said once once passed into law, it will guide the implementation of the Climate Change Response Strategy already prepared by the Environmentministry.

The proposed bill weaves together the institutional and conceptual issues of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Otichillo said the authority will also establish and manage a national registry for carbon. "The bill seeks to establish a comprehensive law on climate change in order to mitigate emissions and improve energy efficiency," he said.

Otichillo expressed optimism that the bill will sail through the House before the expiry of the term of the tenth Parliament. He said more that half of parliamentarians support the bill. Koech and Otichillo spoke during a Climate Change Hearing for Western province at Golf Hotel in Kakamega on Friday. Also present were Gender assistant minister Manyala Keya, MPs Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi), Elijah Lagat (Emgwen), Evans Akula (Khwisero) and Ben Washiali (Mumias, and regional commissioner for Lower Western Peter Okwanyo.

The PS in the office of the Prime Minister Mohamed Isahakia said the country may not attain Vision 2030 that seeks to make Kenya a middle industrialised country unless proper measures are put in place to check the effects of climate change. Isahakia said climate change is no longer a scientific phenomenon and asked the government to readjust resource allocation to effectively deal with the weather vagaries.


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