Climate change and environmental sustainability action plans in Africa: a case study of Kenya, (1980-2014)
Climate change is probably the most important environmental issue facing the world today. Africa specifically, has been adverse affected by climate change, yet little concrete action has been put in place to address the same. In view of the issue, the study examined the status of climate change action plan and environmental sustainability in Africa generally and Kenya in particular. It also sought to understand the relationship between climate change and environmental sustainability, as well as establish the effectiveness of the climate change adaptation options to enhance climate resilience in Africa, with a special focus on Kenya. Further, the study analyzed the role of state and non-state actors in implementation of a regional as well as national climate change action plan for environmental sustainability. To realize this, interviews to key informants were conducted in various ministries, government organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. Further, secondary data from both physical and on-line libraries were utilized to gather additional information. The study concluded that climate change undermines achievement of environmental sustainability through impacts such as increase in temperatures, variability of rainfall and increased in drought and flooding incidences which affect many sectors such as food crop productivity. Conversely, environmental degradation, by virtue of its contribution to greenhouse gas emission through deforestation, land degradation and pollution among others, contributes to climate change, hence the two variables are mutually interlinked. For the case of Kenya, in the period 1980-2014, temperature rise was found to be higher than the global average, while there was increase in annual rainfall over the same period. The country, by virtue of being an agriculture-based economy, has been severely affected by warmer temperatures as well as rainfall variation. The main crop production season of March –April – May has experienced reduced rainfall over the same period. On a positive note the country’s second crop planting season of October – November – December has been receiving enhanced rainfall, which portents well for crop production by the counties that use this particular season. On the overall, implementation of climate change action in Africa in general and Kenya in particular, was found to be generally unsatisfactory. Though the policies and legislation are largely in place, key bottleneck were found to include; inadequate funds, low technical capacity and inadequate expertise by the state and non-state actors charged with responsibilities of implementing climate change action. It is therefore recommended that the continent, the sub-region and Kenya should develop internal capacities on climate change in order to leverage and attract international support under existing international conventions in its efforts to address climate change. Similarly, Kenya should operationalize the institutions created by the Climate Change Act 2016 in order to offer guidance in the quest to make the country climate resilient. Finally, it was recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture and Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Institute (KALRO) should consider the viability of the country utilizing more the October – November – December rains for crop production in view of the findings that the rains during that season have increased while the March- April –May rains have reduced.