In Kenya, STARCK aims to address climate change
Climate change has become a central concern for Kenya, where climate-related crises such as drought and flooding are a common occurrence. Urban-dwellers, farmers, and pastoralists alike are threatened by unpredictable and extreme fluctuations in weather. Given these challenges, SUNY/PSP, with funding from the UK’s DFID, set up the Strengthening Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in Kenya (STARCK) program. STARCK’s goal is to increase stakeholder participation and connect the effects of climate change to multiple issues and sectors. Through STARCK, SUNY/PSP works closely with the Kenyan National Assembly and the Parliamentary Network for Renewable Energy and Climate Change (PANERECC) to create a more robust public dialogue and support legislative action addressing climate change.
STARCK’s successes have made Kenya a regional leader in developing climate change initiatives. In Kenya, two pieces of draft legislation have emerged from the recent STARCK-supported activity: a Climate Change Authority Bill (2012), which would coordinate the disparate efforts of the government to tackle climate change, and a bill aiming to establish a National Drought Management Authority (NDMA). In accordance with SUNY/PSP’s broader goals for effective and accountable government, both bills are being subjected to the scrutiny and input of civil society stakeholders and members of parliament who are increasingly sensitized to climate change issues. Only one other African state — Nigeria — has moved to establish a national authority on climate change, although that bill remains unsigned.
STARCK has already made important progress in achieving its objectives. STARCK has set up a parliamentary website on climate change, provided training to 98 Members of Parliament and Parliamentary Staff on climate change issues, and hosted over 20 stakeholder forums and meetings around the country to discuss climate change and proposed legislation. MPs and Staff met with over 700 stakeholders and citizens and discussed how local communities could contribute to the mitigation of climate change as well as understanding how climate change will affect their constituents. The participation of civil society advocates led to an amendment in the proposed Climate Change Bill (2012) for the creation of a Climate Change Trust Fund to provide resources for local-initiative climate change programs. Amendments regarding climate change were also incorporated into a series of Lands Bills, a sign that that Kenyan MPs are becoming increasingly aware of how the problem of climate change cuts through multiple issues.
Posted Oct. 10, 2012