August 18th 2017

Society / Environment

Were it not for rampant corruption, Kenya would be a leader in climate action

Climate change has resulted in deaths, loss of livelihoods, displacement of populations, starvation and conflicts due to severe drought yet the amount of money that has been lost under the Jubilee administration would be adequate to fund a big portion of Kenya’s mitigation and adaptation plan.

By Jonathan OdongoTuesday, 22 Nov 2016 10:18 EAT

The world has gathered once again to discuss climate change and action, this time in Marrakech, Morocco. At the ongoing 22nd United Nations climate change negotiations (COP 22), nations are laying ground for implementation of Paris Agreement that was passed last year during the 21st UN climate change conference of parties (COP21) in Paris, France.

In the agreement, the countries agreed on a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, prevent global temperature increase, enhance adaptation to the impacts of climate change, foster climate resilience and commit climate finance to assist developing countries with climate action initiatives.

Prior to COP 21, countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), highlighting commitments to cut emissions, reduce global temperature rise, increase adaptation to the impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience. In the INDCs, each country pointed out requirements and support needed to successfully implement the proposed actions.

Kenya committed to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 30%, achieve 90% renewable energy and ensure adaptation and enhanced resilience to climate change by 2030. To achieve the target, the country needs over USD 40 billion for mitigation and adaptation actions across sectors up to 2030. This translates to about Sh267 billion annually. While some countries promised to achieve their targets through their domestic budgets, Kenya has called for ‘international support in the form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer and capacity building’ to fully implement the INDC.

At the ongoing climate change conference, one of the agendas on Kenya’s table is climate finance meant to support climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives for developing countries - a topic that is increasingly becoming contentious. However, Kenya’s delegation at the negotiations would not be focusing on funding but other key issues if corruption in government were tamed. Since getting into power, the current regime has lost “a total of Sh1,009.81 trillion” to mega scandals according to senator Johnstone Muthama. This is about Sh250 billion annually since 2013.

According to Nandi Hills Member of Parliament, Alfred Keter, “The Jubilee government has increased money lost through corruption from Sh300 billion to Sh600 billion every year.” According to report released by the Auditor General, Sh215 billion from the controversial Eurobond funds has not been accounted for two years after the Government claimed the cash was allocated to Ministries.

In the 2014/2015 financial year, more than Sh7 billion was lost in Government ministries, departments and commissions according to Auditor General’s report tabled in Parliament this year. According to the report, this was a significant improvement compared to the previous year where more than Sh66 billion was unaccounted for. During the same financial year, the Auditor General established that over Sh14 billion was wasted in the areas where no value could be established.

From National Youth Service, Eurobond, Standard Gauge Railway to Afya House, the list of mega scandals in the government in the last four years is endless. Even President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed frustrations about the fight against graft in his government. The scandals have had reverberating impacts on the economy as well. For example, investors at the Nairobi Stock Exchange lost Sh530 billion between March and October this year due to fall in the prices of shares.

Climate change has resulted in deaths, loss of livelihoods, displacement of populations, starvation and conflicts due to prolonged and severe drought yet the amount of money that has been lost under the Jubilee administration would be adequate to fund the whole or significant portion of Kenya’s mitigation and adaptation plan.

Were it not for the runaway corruption, misappropriation and allocation of funds to valueless projects and programmes, Kenya would not be scrapping for the slippery climate funds but instead leading developing countries in climate action.

The writer is the founder and executive director of the Kenya Environmental Education Network





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