Thursday, December 17, 2015

Climate Change portal: Bridging information gap in Kenya

By Bob Aston

Climate change and climate variability pose major threats to the environment, to economic growth and to sustainable development of Kenya. Rise in temperature, decreasing rainfall trends, frequent flooding, and prolonged droughts are clear signals of the effect of Climate Change.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to increase and on the present path, global average temperature rise will exceed the goal to limit well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.
A screen shot of the climate change portal
Despite this, access to climate change information has not been easy in the country. In most cases information provided through various forums has at times been inaccurate. 
At the same time most organizations dealing with climate change adaptation rarely share information on what they do or adaptation mechanisms.
Kenya has now addressed such constraints by developing a climate Change portal. The Kenyan Climate Change Portal is a one-stop repository of climate change information.
The virtual online platform has provided and shared data and information related to climate change thus encouraging cooperation and informed decision making by both the national and county governments as well as private sector players and farmers. It has also showcased initiatives by different organizations.
In essence, it can now be the first point of call for basic climate change and related information. Widespread access of the portal can go a long way in helping communities in the country understand what climate change is as well as mitigating measures. This will ensure that the country has played its part in informing the public on climate change.
The Climate Change portal is an initiative of the Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) Project which aims to contribute to Kenya’s overall goal in achieving transformative development, accelerating sustainable climate resilient economic growth while slowing down Green House Gas emissions.
This is particularly important as Kenya is among the 195 countries that agreed on a comprehensive climate change deal that seeks to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial revolution levels and to try for 1.5-degree Celsius if possible.
Through the portal, Kenyan’s can find data related to climate change adaptation, climate change finance, policies and strategies and low emission development action as well as capacity building. One can also access information about various initiatives by both the government and other organizations related to climate change.
The LECRD Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and implemented through The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities (MENRRDA), aims at; supporting Kenya’s efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development as well as accelerate sustainable climate resilient economic growth, while slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
The 3 (three) year project will contribute towards the implementation of the Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan (2013- 2017) which has the overarching goal of enhancing low carbon climate resilient development outlined in Kenya’s economic blueprint, Vision 2030.

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