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COP26: Kenya urges Africa to adopt common stance on climate change

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 called on Africa to develop a common position ahead of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Uhuru Kenyatta
President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyatta who spoke in Nairobi when he chaired a virtual meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on climate change stressed the negative impacts of climate change on Africa’s peace and security.

“Africa endures the most of climate change. The reality is hard to ignore.

“Many of our countries are experiencing extreme weather patterns, which manifests itself in the form of more frequent and more intense droughts and floods,” he said in a statement issued by the presidency after the meeting.

He said climate change was a key defining development and the foremost emerging security challenge of our time as it acts as a “multiplier” of existing threats to international peace and security.

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Kenyatta, who is this month’s Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council, noted that in spite Africa contributing very little to greenhouse gas emissions, the continent was bearing the greatest burden of climate change.

“As African leaders specifically and global leaders more generally, we can no longer ignore the serious security challenges associated with climate change,” he said.

“As a consequence, our nations have witnessed more aggressive locust invasions, with far reaching consequences on the communities’ livelihoods, ecosystems, and infrastructure,” Kenyatta added.

He said these disruptive effects have significantly undermined the social economic development agenda of many countries in the continent.

The Kenyan leader said climate change induced ecological changes exacerbates Africa’s social and economic vulnerabilities leading to forced migration and intense competition for diminishing resources which in turn lead to conflicts.

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He asked the international community to support Africa’s climate change mitigation efforts by linking existing early warning systems with decision-making tools so as to prevent conflicts.

And he underscored the urgency of addressing climate change and reminded African countries on the need to unite and work with the global community in their interventions.

“We must act in concert to protect our shared destiny.

“Rather than wait for a future tipping point, we must redouble the efforts now to direct all the resources and multilateral frameworks of our rules-based international order to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said.

Kenyatta who highlighted some of the interventions individual African countries can implement to slow down climate change, said Kenya was implementing a 10-year action plan that will see it raise its tree cover to 10 per cent by 2030.

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He said Kenya’s climate change plan prioritises renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and introduction of climate smart interventions in the transport sector such as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system integrated with non-motorised transport for the City of Nairobi.

Kenya is among the top eight global leaders in geothermal power development, and home to the first and largest geothermal and wind power projects in Africa, he said.

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