Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nobel laureate criticizes Kenyan policies

Sammy Cheboi and Dave Opiyo in via the Daily Nation (Kenya): Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has blamed bad policies for the worsening impact of climate change in Kenya. Addressing the UN conference on climate change, Prof Maathai said the climate change may have exacerbated a situation that was already vulnerable due to long-term neglect of the environment.

She said failure to abandon the shamba system, grazing of livestock in forests and unsustainable agricultural techniques like slash-and-burn on farms have also contributed to the mess Kenya is in. In many countries, she noted, the negative impact of climate change may come in form of drying up rivers, melting glaciers on mountains, erratic rains, devastating floods and melting polar ice.

"In East Africa it is possible that these impacts contributed to recent failure of rains and subsequent crop failure, famine, water and energy crisis," she said. Her remarks were made on a day the 64th UN General Assembly urged member states to approach Copenhagen conference with "ambition, optimism and determination".

…In 2009, the humanitarian consolidated appeal process requested $8.6 billion to provide 30 million people with life-saving assistance, an almost 23 per cent increase from 2008 requirements of $7 billion to support 25 million people. Prof Maathai said developing countries are negotiating for a mechanism that would include forests that are not degraded as a basis for receiving compensation for climate change damages. "It is important to ensure that such resources are accessible in good time and equitably disbursed and inclusivity, transparency and accountability are ensured."….

Shot of Wangari Maathai by Martin Rowe, Wikimedia Commons

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