Monday, October 15, 2007

Kenya seeks to fight climate change

The Standard (Kenya): The Government wants over Sh400 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to improve its capacity to reduce vulnerability of rural livelihoods in arid areas to climate variability and change. The grant under a new "Kenya-Adaptation to Climate Change in Arid Lands" (Kaccal) project would assist the country adapt to expected changes in climatic conditions.

The changes are likely to threaten sustainability of rural livelihoods in arid and semi-arid lands, says the State. According to a World Bank Project Information Document (PID), prepared last month, the Government would provide a counterpart funding of $0.5 million towards the project, bringing the total cost to $6.5 million. It says climate change introduces an additional uncertainty into managing natural resources and promoting sustainable land-use management.

"An increased variability between extremely dry and wet conditions, shifts in seasonal climate characteristics as well as associated effects and vector borne diseases place an additional strain on human health and food security, threatens water resources, and also the viability of rural livelihoods in already marginal lands," the World Bank says.

The PID said the appropriate way to address the risks is to enhance climate management into ongoing Government plans, programmes and activities that are affected by rising risks of climate change. Livestock accounts for 26 per cent of total national agricultural production and potential impacts of climate risk have considerable economic significance.

The "Kenya-Adaptation to Climate Change in Arid Lands" would be embedded in Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP), which is currently in its second phase. The ALRMP represents a long-term operation to enhance food-security and reduce livelihood vulnerability in drought-prone and marginalised communities.

The project supports community driven development, drought mitigation and decentralised planning in 28 Asal districts, as well as policy support advocacy and improvement in service delivery. The document noted that based on an evaluation of the sustainability of livelihood activities, the project would focus on reducing the near-term vulnerability to current climate variability and trends in conjunction with the Arid Lands Resource Management Project.

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