Mabibi na mabwana,
Hamjambo! Habari zenu?
I am pleased to join you on this important occasion as Kenya holds this workshop to validate its National Policy on Climate Finance and Climate Change Budget Codes. This action by the National Treasury will significantly improve Kenya’s ability to mobilize financing to address climate change and will complement the progress made on environmental issues made by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development. I would like to congratulate the government of Kenya, and specifically Cabinet Secretaries Rotich, Wakhungu, and Mohamed, for continued leadership in confronting climate change, environmental challenges, and development issues through innovative and crosscutting initiatives such as these.
The late Wangari Maathai said, “We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.” Climate change represents perhaps the single greatest challenge to ensuring a sustainable world for future generations. Climate change will, if not stopped, increase the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events, wreck our ecosystems, and have immeasurable human and economic impacts. Here in Kenya, climate change could undermine key sectors of the Kenyan economy, including agriculture, pastoralism, hydro-power, conservation, tourism, forestry, and fisheries.
I am proud to say that Kenya and the United States have long been strong partners on climate change and sustainable development issues. These new Climate Change policies and announcements and the workshop today are supported through the Enhancing Capacity for Low Emissions Development, or EC-LEDS program, a U.S. government initiative to support countries transition to green growth economies. Kenya is among the twenty countries collaborating with the U.S. government to reduce emissions globally through this program. To date, we have invested KSH 725 million towards low emission development through this program in Kenya. Last year, I launched, along with Cabinet Secretary Wakhungu, the USAID EC-LEDS/Climate Adaptation program here in Kenya. Today, we are honored to take another step with the government, in addition to the United Kingdom and UNDP, in support of an ambitious agenda on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
In July, Kenya became only the fourth country in Africa to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Kenya went further, and announced its post-2020 target to limit carbon emissions as part of the campaign against climate change. President Obama highlighted this achievement when he visited Kenya. Today’s new National Policy on Climate Finance, will help Kenya meet these commitments. Together, these important achievements underscore Kenya’s commitment to becoming a regional and global leader in combating climate change and sustaining natural resources for future generations.
Tackling climate change will require global cooperation on an unprecedented scale. However, I am hopeful, in part, because of the progress we are making here today. I am hopeful because of the people here as well – members of government and international partners who have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection. And I am hopeful because we have a strong partnership with the government of Kenya on this and so many other issues. No challenge is beyond us if we work together as committed partners to find solutions.
During his recent visit to Nairobi, President Obama said, “America partners with Kenya in areas where you’re making enormous progress, and we focus on what Kenyans can do for themselves and building capacity… [such as] on the important issue of climate change, where Kenya’s recent goal to reduce its emissions has put it in the position of being a leader on the continent.”
Kenya has taken important steps to lead on climate change and I look forward to seeing more action in the future. And, I look forward to our continuing partnership on this fundamental threat to the future of our planet and all humankind. If we work together with determination and commitment, we can stop climate change.
Pamoja tusonge mbele.