Kenya signs key agreements at COP26 conference


Board of Governors Dr Wilber Ottichilo and the Kenyan team during the COP 26 climate talks in Glasgow, UK. [Courtesy]

As the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 26) nears its second week, world leaders appeared to be making significant progress on how to tackle the greatest calamity facing humanity – climate change. But what many are asking is what COP 26 is and what it means for Kenya.

The world is warming due to man-made emissions of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. In addition, extreme weather events linked to climate change – including heat waves, floods and forest fires – are intensifying. To slow warming, some 200 countries, called parties, are invited to present their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. That is why they are meeting in Glasgow, UK, from 31 October to November 13 to discuss their plans to keep globalization warming well below 2 degrees Celsius – to avoid climate catastrophe.

At the summit, Kenya is represented by President Uhuru Kenyatta and a high-level delegation from the Ministry of the Environment, officials from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Chairman of the Board of Governors on the environment and climate change, Wilber Ottichilo, chief negotiator.

Speaking to The Standard practically from Glasgow, UK, Dr Otichillo, an environmentalist, said the Kenyan delegation was making significant progress as they present Kenya’s climate action progress plans to the global platform.

“I am part of the Kenyan delegation to COP26, representing the 47 counties of Kenya as chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee of the Board of Governors. We have had long and intense sessions, but I am happy to report that we are making significant progress as we approach the second week of the conference, ”said Ottichilo, who is also the governor of Vihiga.

Giants Club

As one of the key negotiators for Kenya, Governor Vihiga accompanied the President to a high-level event on natural solutions focused on tackling climate change by investing in the country’s natural carbon sinks. Africa. The meeting was convened by the African Development Bank.

At the event, the President announced Kenya’s plan to work with other African countries that form the “Giants Club” conservation group to mobilize resources to invest in the continent’s climate change mitigation programs.

This strategy is particularly important because developing countries, which contribute less than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet are the hardest hit, need billions of dollars in climate funds to cope. climate change and switch to green energy solutions. Ottichilo said the team has engaged with a number of countries that are leaders in climate action and have discussed innovative climate smart solutions that can benefit Kenya. Kenya, he said, has engaged with the Japanese Embassy on a project on how to recycle plastic waste into various products through a chemical process of monomerization, pyrolysis and gasification.

“We also discussed with the team from Japan how to use carbon negative concrete for construction, a technology that continuously absorbs and stores carbon dioxide during the concrete hardening process,” he said. -he declares.

He also noted that world leaders signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, a bold statement on protecting forests.

“Making a declaration to end deforestation is an important step in the fight against climate change. This emphasizes the critical and interdependent roles of forests of all types, biodiversity and sustainable land use in enabling the world to achieve its sustainable development goals, ”explained Ottichilo. To further guide the deforestation agenda, the governor said the Korean government is already assisting Ethiopia under the Peace Forest Initiative and that new commitments will lead to support for the restoration of the Maragoli Hills and the Kibiri forest.

Ottichilo also joined Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury Ukur Yatani in a panel discussion on financing a more resilient world in efforts to support adaptation.

The commitment of countries around the world, multilateral organizations and the private sector to commit to contributing $ 130 trillion towards achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050 through the Carbon Investment Fund is of utmost importance, he said.

“This fund will mainly be used for adaptation and mitigation of climate change. In addition, the discussion focused on how to create a special carbon transition fund that will help countries, developed and developing, move from fossil-based economies to renewable energy-based economies. To access these funds, standards and regulations must be formulated to be respected by the beneficiaries of these funds.

At the center of the discussions is the heated debate over climate finance, as developed countries pledged to mobilize $ 100 billion (11 trillion shillings) each year by 2020 to help developing countries do so. in the face of climate change and to move to greener projects.

“I also attended sessions at the American pavilion, where climate finance issues were discussed and how NASA is using satellite data modeling to monitor the impact of climate change on a global scale,” said Ottichilo . Some 25,000 people attended the vast COP 26, from heads of state to activists and charities.

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