IBON Africa held a hybrid webinar titled, “Reclaim Our Land, Forests And Rivers: A CSO Review Of Kenya’s Amended Climate Change Act” last October 6, 2023, ahead of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Global Consultations on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). The CSO Review raised awareness on the implications of the Amended Climate Change Act, which accommodates market-based mechanisms for NBS. Sixty-four activists from social justice movements and civil society organisations (CSOs) participated in the webinar.
IBON Africa encouraged the audience to foster collaboration and enhance advocacy among civil society organisations. “The campaign looks forward to enhancing collaboration and strengthening advocacy for people-powered climate action, creating a united front for effective climate justice advocacy amidst corporate capture of the climate agenda,” said Caroline Muturi, Coordinator of IBON Africa.
The panellists then urged participants to continuously hold the global North accountable for the global climate crisis, expressing growing concerns over corporate influence, especially in the transition away from fossil fuels. “Multinational corporations have exploited the climate change agenda for profit, benefiting the global North, at the expense of the global South. IBON International initiated the ‘Decolonize to Decarbonize’ campaign, urging CSOs to remain vigilant and scrutinise these developments,” Jax Bongon, Policy Officer of IBON International’s Climate Justice Programme said.
The webinar offered a comprehensive review of the amendments made to Kenya’s Climate Change Act, and delved into the historical context of the policy, and its implications. Urgent concerns were raised regarding the following issues:
- The introduction of market-based mechanisms in alignment with the Paris Agreement.
- The removal of nomination requirements for the Climate Change Council.
- The absence of a clear mechanism for monitoring and ensuring accountability for climate finance.
According to Irene Asuwa, representing Ecological Justice: “The Amended Act neglects historical emissions and the actions to be taken to reduce the emissions. On carbon trading, there is a lack of clarity on the valuation of carbon markets.”
The speakers insisted that carbon trading is a distraction from African priorities and needs, since it is a false solution that does not cut emissions. “Since the establishment of carbon markets, we have no evidence of reduced emissions. In fact, carbon emissions have risen. Carbon trading has a negative impact on communities and on biodiversity,” said Gituanja Gachie, Executive Director of Community Action Network.
People-powered climate action is central in a climate agenda where community actions are supported and encouraged. Communities are key in policy-making processes and should be engaged meaningfully in shaping actions, plans, strategies and policies relating to climate change. According to Mwaura Kaara, Program Manager of Social Development Network: “An active citizenry that is informed is able to make critical demands, resulting in a government that is working for its people.”
The CSO Review webinar is one of IBON Africa’s events under its national campaign in Kenya, “Reclaim our land, forests and rivers”. The campaign serves as a collective call to action to prioritise peoples’ needs and the environment over corporate interests.
IBON Africa invites organisations and individuals to join this crucial endeavour by signing our statement on Kenya’s amended climate change act. The CSO Review will be sent to relevant government agencies and policymakers. #