To remain globally competitive Kenya has to manage and sustain her environment and natural resource base. The country subsistence and national economies, foreign exchange and significant contribution to GDP depend on agriculture and agro-based industries, tourism, water resources and hydropower. Despite this reality Kenya is facing many environment challenges that include deforestation, soil erosion, and land degradation, desertification, and loss of biodiversity, water scarcity and pollution from industry. The challenges are exacerbated by floods, droughts and other related risks associated with climate change, thereby threatening national security and increasing societal and national economic vulnerability. The management of environment and natural resources is under the Social Pillar of Vision 2030 - “nation living in a clean, secure and sustainable environment” and with strategic thrusts in conservation, pollution and waste management, enhancing disaster preparedness and improving capacity for adapting to global climate change, arid and semi-arid lands and environmental planning and governance. The Energy and Environment component of the current Government of Kenya – UNDP programme responds and contributes to this Pillar 3 of Vision 2030, MDG7 and UNDAF Outcome 3.2 “To enhance environmental management for economic growth with equitable access to energy services and response to climate change”, focusing on challenges and opportunities of climate change, management of natural resources for poverty reduction and managing energy for sustainable development and achievement of MDGs for sustainable development. The component contributes to Goal 3 of MYFF and Strategic Goal 4 of the UNDP Global Programme.
The overall goal of the Energy and Environment component of Country Programme is to support Kenya meet its obligations to international environment agreements while enhancing the contribution of natural resources and the environment to poverty reduction and sustainable socio-economic development. This is realized through supporting development of appropriate policies, strategies, tools and innovative programmes that integrate environment into national planning and budgeting processes together with promoting effective management of natural resources for production and income diversification. Within UNDP special mandate of furthering agenda for sustainable development the programme component assists Kenya in the domestication of Multilateral Environment Agreements and Conventions through development of projects that build capacity at grassroots and national levels under various funding facilities such as GEF, Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto’s Cleaner Development Mechanism.
The programme component has initiatives in four main strategic areas of focus. These are; Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation to support responses to climate change risk, vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation at all levels. The points for climate change are upstream advocacy and mainstreaming climate change in all sectors of national development. This will be realized by supporting the formulation of national climate change strategy, policy and advocating for the adoption of the strategy by all national institutions through formulation of related subsidiary instruments; building capacity in climate change mitigation and adaptation to increase the resilience of the communities and ecosystems to the impacts of climate change and , integrating climate change concerns into sustainable community-based management of natural resources and thirdly support to climate change mitigation initiatives that strengthen Kenya’s human and institutional and systemic capacities to implement the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, access to carbon markets via formulation of CDM projects that also link mitigation to conservation and management of natural resources, cleaner production and renewable energy.
Some of the ongoing projects in the climate change domain include:
The Africa Adaptation Programme: “An Integrated and Comprehensive Approach to Climate Change Adaptation in Kenya”; This 5 million US$ project a joint initiative with UNIDO and WFP has the objective of strengthening Kenya’s institutional and systematic capacity and leadership to address climate change risks and opportunities through a national approach to adaptation.
“Adaptation to Climate Change in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (KACCAL”; aimed at facilitating adaptation of the key stakeholders in arid and semi-arid lands to long-term climate change. The joint project seeks to develop and pilot a range of coping mechanisms for reducing the vulnerability of small-holder farmers and pastoralists in rural Kenya to long-term climate change, including variability. The project is funded through the Special Climate Change Fund, with the World Bank managing US$ 5.5 million and UNDP entrusted with overseeing the disbursement of US$ 1million.“Regional CDM capacity building project for sub-Saharan Africa”: The objective of the project is to enhance public and private sector capacity to access carbon finance, and to overcome barriers impeding the take-off of a carbon project market in sub-Saharan Africa. The project will review existing institutional and regulatory frameworks, and identify capacity gaps in the public and private sectors that need to be filled in order to put in place a ‘carbon-enabling’ infrastructure that can attract commercial carbon finance under the CDM or voluntary carbon markets. US$ 350,000.00
The second area is Sustainable Management of Land and Natural Resources to enhance environment services with focus on support for development of pro-poor policies, tools and innovative practices for equitable access to, sustainable management and utilization of living natural resources to generate socio-economic benefit. Special attention is given to important assets that are currently being utilized unsustainably. Specifically UNDP support targets three main outputs: national level advocacy and capacity for sustainable management of natural resources; building capacity of local communities and local level community and civil society institutions with focus on women and youth for sustainable management and use of natural resources and capacity for public institutions such as government ministries, National Environment Management Authority and the Kenya Forest Service to enforce and ensure compliance to policies, laws and guidelines.
Capacity development of Kenya Meteorological Services on early warning systems put in place.
Completion of the national climate change resource centre, integration of climate change in national and county level planning and budgeting process, and development of National Action plan on Climate change for Kenya.
Support towards the development and finalization of Green House Gases inventory for Kenya.
Reduction in forest loss and degradation.
Capacity development for farmers through Farmer Field Schools.
Finalization of the National Strategy for Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources in Kenya and development of first ever national baseline report on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) in Kenya.
Insecurity in some of the operation areas.
Unpredictable weather patterns affecting some of the projects
Overlapping and/or conflicting mandates of Government institutions e.g. national vs. county government mandates;
Duplication of efforts by development partners due to lack of sufficient coordination at the national level.
Chemicals management and unintended persistent organic pollutants (UPOPs) reduction.
Mainstreaming environmental governance around extractive industries in Kenya.
Scale up support to combat illegal wildlife trade and anti-poaching campaigns.
Support environmental mainstreaming in devolved governments.
Assist Kenya Access Climate Finance.