Climate finance: Safeguarding the wellbeing of future generations
By Claire Nasike
1996; Budalangi is lush and verdant. The bright yellow flowered Markhamia lutea trees, form a magnificent canopy on Namenya and Mujongo hills. The waters of the meandering River Nzoia, seep and bubble through the papyrus thick Bulwani swamp. Over the crystal clear waters of Lake Victoria, lantern lights glow; fishermen cast their nets.
My grandfather, a fisherman by profession looks forward to each day’s catch. His net never lacks a mudfish, catfish or Tilapia.
Rainfall is abundant. Her granary filled to the brim, my grandmother, enjoys long evening walks in the thick forested Namenya hills, collecting herbs for her patients. Budalangi is pristine.
2016; Budalangi is dusty, dry and hot like the Sahara. Mujongo and Namenya hills are glade, save for small tufts of Lantana camara. Its shores no more, its waters diminishing, River Nzoia suffocates from the numerous inflow of agricultural chemicals.
Eutrophication renders Lake Victoria useless. Water hyacinth completely covers its once crystal clear waters. Boats bringing in food from the neighbouring Uganda dock on its degraded shores. Rainfall is scanty; drought and hunger are the new norm. Sitting outside their hut, my grandparents ponder on their next move.
The land of once high yields can no longer feed its residents.
The impact of the severe drought is being felt beyond Budalangi and Turkana in Kenya and across Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia, where it has led to a severe food crisis and cases of malnutrition.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, climate change, among other factors, is contributing to the people’s lack of access to food and water.
The United Nations World Food Program estimates that over 1.5 million people are malnourished in Somalia while over, 7 million are being affected by the drought in Ethiopia.
Drought, land degradation and hunger are some of the negative impacts of climate change local communities face .These impacts are also among those addressed by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. These impacts require huge funds for them to be addressed, hence climate finance.
Climate finance, which was first included in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) Rio report in 1992,aims at reducing emissions, enhancing sinks of greenhouse gases, reducing vulnerability of, maintaining and increasing the resilience of, human and ecological systems to the negative climate change impacts.
Both developing and developed countries can set aside funds for mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. Developing countries can raise climate funds by mobilizing funds from developed countries either directly or indirectly through the multilateral financial institutions and United Nations agencies, through carbon trade and by setting up payment schemes for ecosystem services.
Kenya, which loses about 12,000 hectares of forests each year through deforestation, primarily due to the conversion of forests to agriculture or for development projects (KFS, 2010),has set up the National Climate Change Response Strategy that aims at reallocating the countrys budgetary resources and raising additional revenue for tackling the negative impacts of climate change.
Developed countries, can also fund climate change adaptation and mitigation activities, by sending their contribution to the Green Climate Fund, which was set up in 2010, by the 194 countries, which are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as part of the Conventions financial mechanism. The fund was created, to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change.
Why should countries set aside funds for mitigating the negative impacts of climate change? Setting aside funds for climate change, holds to account the mining and power companies in developed countries that have long profited from the exploitation of fossil fuels, without being held financially accountable for the shared costs of their business model.
It helps restore the degraded environments such as Budalangi by initiating green projects that will not only restore the environment but will conserve it for future generations. It also helps local communities initiate adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change.
How do we ensure climate funds, flow to the local communities and are used appropriately? Although, the Green Climate Fund recognizes the need to ensure that, developing country partners, exercise ownership of climate change funding and integrate it within their own national action plans.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), estimates that between 2003-2015 only 11% of climate finance, or US$1.6 billion, flowed to the local level.
Countries can ensure that climate finances flow down to the local communities by involving the local community members as key stakeholders in climate change adaptation projects; enforcement of policies for community engagement; building their local capacity to manage climate funds; and constantly monitoring and evaluating the projects executed.
2017; My grandfather is part of an Non-Governmental Environmental organization, that works towards restoring Lake Victoria and River Nzoia. His capacity built, he now educates the other community members on the dangers of farming next to the River and Lake shores and trains them on how to weave baskets and mats from Water Hyacinth.
My grandmother too, is part of Kenya Forest Service through Budalangi community forest association; together they aim at reforesting Namenya and Mujongo hills. In her farm, drought resistant maize seeds lie beneath the soil. The sky is grey, puffy thick cumulonimbus clouds gather, soon it shall pour, and soon her patients will have enough supply of herbal medicine.