Statement in reaction to Government’s endorsement of the Lamu Coal Project, Nairobi, Kenya; 20 June 2019
Today is a sad day for this country and the taxpayers working so hard to feed themselves and the Government.
Today, I return to express my shock and disgust that the same government that purports to care for its people has stood before cameras and declared it’s intention to continue with the Lamu coal project, turning a deaf ear to the noise on the ground, and a blind eye to the realities.
It was not for show that Civil Society Organisations joined other Kenyans and marched in the streets of Nairobi to protest the appetite the Government has developed towards the coal plant project at the Kenyan Coast.
There have been more protests in this regard, and if the Government was listening and cared for its people, this project would be dead.
Despite the fact that these issues were so obvious, we raised them again to remind the Government to pause, listen and do the right thing. We marched to remind the Government not to listen to a few greedy people hiding behind local and international firms with a resolve to have the Lamu Coal project continue, no matter what! All we were saying was that Coal is not cool. Coal is going to kill our people in Lamu. Going on with this project will sink the country’s economy and push the already overburdened taxpayer to the wall.
Kenya as a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement is blatantly choosing to go against the grain, reversing the many gains we have achieved in our attempts to access and push for cleaner, renewable and more sustainable energy and in the end reduce carbon emission.
What is baffling is that the Government is not composed of people with low understanding of all the underlying issues, but it continues to act in a manner likely to suggest that it does not care how many people suffer the consequences of a Coal project, even if the economy sinks by a few hundreds of billions of shillings. We have seen countries in the world constructing stadiums with solar panels. Kenya can also take this direction instead of investing in killer projects that will destroy future generations!
The 200 billion being invested in coal projects can be direveted to cleaner and renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal energy.
Some of the harmful effects of coal will include increased greenhouse gas emissions, production of harmful toxin during burning. Some of the gases have been known to cause ailments like cancer and asthma. Other disadvantages of having a coal plant are environmental degradation, risk of mines collapsing on miners, displacement of communities, pollution of water bodies and soil as rain water mixes with toxic substances and get absorbed. It will also affect the fishing community by contaminating the water disposed around the ocean
So who are the real faces behind this Lamu Coal project? What don’t they have? What don’t they understand? How many more lives must be lost for them to hear our cries? Doesn’t the life of that poor Kenyan at the Coast matter anymore? Why insist on the coal project when the Government itself has acknowledged surplus from our other renewable, some even unexploited energy sources? Everyone is moving towards clean energy. Why are we walking in the wrong direction?
Yes, there will be economic gains from the coal project, but for how long and at what expense?
We need our ecology and economy sound.
We don’t want to pay more debts; we are tired!
Kenya is one of the 196 signatories to the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that vowed, in 2015, to mitigate greenhouse gas emission, and transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient, green economic development pathways. We must do the right thing. I urge the Government to give this project a second, third or even fifth thought, with the people and the rest of the biodiversity in mind.
We don’t want to kill our people, environment, unity and economy.
The Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has joined partners to review the Second Progress Report on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation.
PACJA, which is the Lead in SDG 13, with its Kenyan Platform on Climate Governance (KPCG) being a Lead in Goal 7, sent representatives to the meeting attended by several Civil Society Organisations in Nairobi on June 19th 2019.
Kenya Civil Society Organisation (CSO) report 2019 is part of the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process that countries committed to during the adoption of the Agenda 2030. This year’s biennial national progress report aims to help Kenya track its progress in achieving Agenda 2030, promote accountability and exchange best practices.
The SDGs Kenya Forum, in its capacity as a strengthening platform and convener for SDGs Implementation, Monitoring and Review among CSOs, convened the goal group leads elected during its (the Forum’s) Annual General Assembly in January 2019. The VNR guideline workshop took place on Friday, 15th February 2019, at ibis Hotel in Nairobi.
The half-day workshop helped prepare civil society organisations to compile their contributions for the 2019 Status report that will be incorporated into the national report Kenya is preparing officially for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2019.
Although Kenya will not be formally presenting a VNR at the HLPF this year, the interagency committee on SDGs Implementation passed a resolution for countries to regularly monitor, review and compile a progress report every two years.
The Goal Group leads convened members and submitted Goal reports as presented by members.
The secretariat, in partnership with Development Initiatives (the forum fiscal host) compiled the consolidated draft report, which will be presented for validation by members.
In March 2019, the forum commissioned a baseline survey to assess the extent to which gender, women and girls empowerment has been integrated in development processes in Kenya. The survey is part of a grant from the Gates Foundation, to strengthen the coordination of SDGs 5 goal group and design a model that can be borrowed by the other16 goal groups.
The forum, therefore, presented the results of the study and got the members’ inputs.
The meeting today aims to present to participants the overall findings of the CSOs consolidated progress report for validation and additional reviews to enable finalisation of the report by end of June 2019.
It also aims to present the draft Goal 5 baseline survey for input to enable finalisation.
The event was at Royal Azure Hotel, Lantana Hotel, Westlands in Nairobi.
The Kenya Platform on Climate Governance (KPCG) has documented the outcomes of the activities of different projects it implemented at national and county levels throughout the year.
The Kenyan platform of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) held a meeting at Ngong Hills Hotel in Nairobi, with each of its thematic working groups presenting their achievements for projects undertaken and reviewing challenges and opportunities.
Speaking at the event, in which she represented the Executive Director Mithika Mwenda, PACJA Head of Programmes Salina Senou commended KPCG for being vibrant.
David Jesse, the CEO of the KPCG, gave a brief history of the platform. “PACJA, through the Angaza Project, was able to come up with KPCG,” he said, adding that the platform would not relent in its efforts to fight for adaptation to and mitigation of effects of climate change, guided by the five thematic working groups. “As CSOs we need to engage the government more,” said Jesse.
Jesse, however, expressed the need to firm up the membership process to lock out jokers.
Dickson Kithinji, the Angaza Project Assistant, took the participants through the steps of packaging their outcomes. Some of the outlined outcomes of the working groups are listed below:
- Enhanced tree cover (indigenous and fruits) in Meru, Mbagathi, Kiambu, Kisaju and Nairobi
- More people have embraced the use of clean energy. Clean energy campaigns that include walks and cycling, are some of the strategies used to reach out to the people
- There is an adaption of green buildings as seen in Nairobi
- County officials are embracing climate change and showing interest in taking part in reducing the greenhouse emissions, which is in line with the Paris Agreement
- There was also an increased willingness of different county blocs to press their governments to pledge financial resources towards climate.
Collins Oduor, the Voice for Change Partnerships (VFCP) project undertaken by the platform, enlightened the audience about his project. “We work with pastoral and marginalised communities in different thematic areas to build Climate Change Governance,” he said. Mr Oduor urged Kenyans to conserve their environments for the sake of all, including pastoral communities whose livelihoods totally depended on the environment.
Oduor expressed possibilities VFCP collaborating with KPCG to tackle climate change issues in Kenya.
Yvonne Maingi, a representative from the Department for International Development (DFID) who has been contracted to review the project, was the chief guest.
KPCG has five thematic working groups, namely:
- Gender, Youth and Marginalised
- Technology Transfer, Knowledge Management and Capacity Building
- Climate Finance
Reflection on the Climate Change Negotiations: Where we are and expectations from the African Civil Society
We join the African Governments and experts here in Bonn for the SB50, with very disturbing memories of recent impacts of extreme events in Africa, especially in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The African continent is under extreme pressure more than ever due to these extreme events, and the most affected are countries with existing capacity and development challenges. The Africa Civil Society calls for urgent climate action and support to addressing such extreme calamities. In Katowice last year, we called for a comprehensive and balanced Paris Agreement Work Programme that upholds equity, justice and act as an anchor in the Paris Agreement’s implementation to be delivered, but this ambition is not yet realised.
We, therefore, expect: -
Loss and Damage: We call for the commitment in the implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage and need a predictable a financing approach for Loss and Damage in Africa. Africa continues to suffer enormous economic losses in billions of dollars as a result of climate change impacts, coupled with un-costed social losses due to climate-induced displacement of persons, thus triggering conflicts. In Mozambique, 3 million people are affected, with estimated USD 1.4 billion in total damage, and USD 1.4 billion in losses. The recovery and reconstruction is estimated to be 2.9 billion USD. In Malawi, the president has declared a state of national disaster due to devastating floods, where more than the lives of 870,000 people are affected. A post-disaster assessment done by World Bank and UNDP indicate around USD 222 million is needed for the recovery. In addition, in Zimbabwe El Nino induced drought has affected 5.3 million and 234 million is required to avert hunger. It is worrying to keep hearing the answer for loss and damage as insurance, this might be possible in developed countries but NOT in developing countries especially in Africa, this is a far-fetched dream.
We expect climate finance to continue to be a critical issue of negotiations. We expect a clear roadmap for fulfilment of climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year by 2020 should be agreed, the commitment should include towards an ambitious Green Climate Fund (GCF) replenishment. Parties should also agree to discuss a new post-2025 quantified climate finance goal from the floor of USD 100 billion. Unless there is a direct and explicit linkage between Article 9.5 and 9.7 and Article 13, much of this exercise will be a cosmetic display without any meaningful assessment of support provided. As the African Civil Society, we believe that the accounting modalities to be used by developed country Parties on financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions via the transparency framework must reflect the information provided in the biennial indicative communication of support.
Adaptation is a core element of the Paris Agreement, there is a need to have clear outcome that allows for operationalization of Adaptation component of the agreement that allows for enhancing flows of support to adaptation actions of developing countries. There is a need for a clear outcome that will enable the operationalization of the adaptation communication with clear and consistent information that will enable assessment of overall progress towards the achievement of the global goal for adaptation.
We should reach clear options on issues pertaining scope of NDC’s mitigation, further action on information on clarity and understanding without leading to diluting the clear flexibility and differentiation in the NDCs between developed and developing countries as per article 4.3 with clear outcomes with developed countries to take the lead on mitigation actions, and developing countries using the enhanced means of implementation to raise their ambition.
Agriculture is a key economic driver in Africa. We welcome the progress achieved to date by adoption of decision 4/CP.23 on the Konrovia Joint Work Programme (KJWA) representing a major step forward in the negotiations on agriculture under the UNFCCC. Its implementation will require joint efforts from both subsidiary bodies, as well as from constituted bodies under the Convention and other relevant stakeholders. We recognise the importance of the Koronivia joint work on agriculture to provide recommendations on building the resilience of agricultural and food production systems, and sustainable and predictable access to adequate means of implementation, in particular technology transfer and financing that is predictable and adequate.
Capacity Building: We emphasise that there is need to build long-term capacity among developing countries which includes strengthening capacity of climate change institutions.; capacity building should at all times be focused on the needs of countries and driven by countries. Further, capacity building should adopt a multi-stakeholder approach, including all stakeholders and supportive legislation to facilitate this. We call for provision of support to the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT), setting aside of additional resources and meeting of existing voluntary contributions pledges. We further call for provision of financial resources to support country driven capacity building initiatives.
Gender: We note the importance of gender considerations in policies that supports activities on adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology development and transfer, including capacity building, and we acknowledge the progress made in implementing decisions on gender under the Convention. We call for Parties to increase their efforts in ensuring that women are represented in all aspects of the Convention process, and gender mainstreaming is achieved in all processes, and activities of the Convention.
Finally, we are calling on parties here in Bonn, Germany to fresh energy and push the negotiations towards concrete outcomes that will address this grave concern to Africa. The world is watching our ambition in implementation of the Paris Agreement as it will determine whether we are serious in addressing the climate change problem or it’s a mere rhetoric.
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