Uasin Gishu county on Friday hosted a climate action marathon conference to campaign and push for more tree planting and focus on water management and sanitation.
Dr Andrew Tuimur, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of Water Sanitation and Irrigation indicated the Ministry is keen on achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are related to climate action.
“In 2015, the government of Kenya signed the Paris agreement. This agreement provides member states with a framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels,” said Dr Tuimur.
He explained that when Kenya ratified the Paris agreement in 2016, the intended Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) was adopted in the country. The now updated NDC 2020 includes mitigation and adaptation contributions to the Paris water agreement.
“The Ministry commits to conduct and implement the recommendations on climate risk assessment on water and sanitation and irrigation, build resilient infrastructure for the protection of dams, dykes and river lines and this will in the end promote water harvesting and storage at county and household levels and mainstreaming climate change into water catchment management,” added Tuimur.
The Ministry in conjunction with other water institutions such as Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company Limited (ELDOWAS) joins the United Nations Global compact Kenya network as part of the strategies to achieve an international corporate standing.
The CAS said the government of Kenya endeavours to provide universal access to water and sanitation for all Kenyans under vision 2030.
“The country’s development program from 2008 to 2030 aims to help transform Kenya into a newly industrialized, middle-income country, providing high quality of life to all citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment,” reiterated Tuimur.
Water and sanitation are considered as one of the enablers of the social pillars of the vision, with water availability being key to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda.
The CAS reiterated the Ministry being the bearer of policy direction recently launched the Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2021 on the National Water Policy as well as various water strategies and regulations.
“Kenya has been increasingly experiencing the adverse effect of climate change, with socio-economic losses from floods and droughts alone at 2-2.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually, and total GDP losses of 3-5 percent, per year. The country is particularly impacted due to its reliance on climate sensitive natural resources for its economic development despite its negligible greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to about 0.1 percent of global figures in 2018,” added Tuimur.
The CAS said the Ministry has attained several milestones in relation to climate smart solutions which include, construction of water storage structures and dykes, tree planting, use of green energy to power pumps where possible, adopting gravity flow in water schemes as opposed to pumping and establishment of climate change desks in all the water sector institutions.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago reiterated on the effects of climate change indicating the county has received unreliable rainfall patterns, sometimes floods, prolonged drought, water deficiency, high heat levels among others.
“My administration is conscious of Kenya’s commitments in Africa aspirations for the Africa We Want under Agenda 2063 of the African Union. This includes inclusive growth and sustainable development as well as an Africa whose development is people-driven in ensuring a prosperous Kenya in a prosperous Africa,” said Mandago.
The Governor said under the county integrated development plan (CIDP) 2018-2022, they are committed to and able to realize a prosperous Uasin Gishu County in Kenya and beyond by the improvement of access to portable water and the attainment of a sustainable environment through protection, restoration, conservation and management of the environment.
“At the onset of devolution, the county had a four percent forest cover and my administration planted 20 million trees towards attaining a minimum 10 percent forest cover. This was possible with the Green City Marathon, the only one in Africa and globally at large,” he stated.
“We are continually committed to supporting the cause until we raise the county’s forest cover to 15 percent. At the moment, our tree cover is 8.2 percent and the fourth Green City Marathon edition being held this Sunday will mobilize and plant additional four million trees which will enable us achieve 10 percent forest cover,” he said.
The Green Marathon has been recognised and enumerated into the Abbot World Marathon majors (WMM) and placed under world athletics monitor. So far it remains the highest paying race in Africa. The Eldoret City Marathon has introduced the use of electronic timing systems that ensure accurate timings and enhance the quality of the long-distance race.
“I would like to thank the ELDOWAS for the creation of the Eldoret-Iten water fund for the critical water towers in Kenya with an anticipated Sh. 300 million seed money. I urge our people to contribute to the fund in kind and financial resources so as to protect our water catchment areas and ensure sustainable urbanization,” added Mandago.
ELDOWAS Managing director Kibet arap Biwott said to preserve and conserve water points, they have created incentives of Sh. 2, 000 for anyone who reports cases of illegal water connections. He added that so far, they had received over 200 reports from patriotic Kenyans.
“We are calling on all development partners, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations around Kenya and the region to join in our efforts on climate action in the 2nd Edition of the climate action conference in 2023,” said Biwott.