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Kenya’s Proposed Climate Change Bill Amendment: A Blueprint for African Countries?

In the face of global warming, the role of legislation in climate change mitigation cannot be overstated. A case in point is Kenya’s Climate Change (Amendment) Bill 2023, an ambitious piece of legislation that aims to plug gaps and enhance participation in carbon markets. This landmark amendment is not only a step in the right direction for Kenya, but it could also serve as a blueprint for other African countries looking to bolster their climate change strategies.

A Closer Look at the Amendment

The Climate Change (Amendment) Bill 2023, proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, offers several key improvements to Kenya’s existing environmental regulations. The proposed amendment represents an effort to ratify the Climate Change Act 2016 and to address any existing gaps within it. 

The amendment proposes the development, management, implementation, and regulation of mechanisms to enhance climate change resilience, low-carbon development, and sustainable development in Kenya. 

Some of the clauses that stood out for us in the amendment include:

  1. The Focus on Carbon Markets and Inclusive Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms

The proposed amendment lays emphasis on the role of carbon markets. It provides a mechanism for public and private entities to transfer and transact emission reduction units, mitigation outcomes, or offsets generated through carbon initiatives, programmes, and projects​​. The Bill’s provision for benefit-sharing mechanisms in carbon markets ensures that the benefits of climate change initiatives are equitably distributed. This approach can serve as a model for other African countries, encouraging them to ensure that both public and private entities are appropriately rewarded for their efforts toward mitigating carbon emissions.

  1. Alignment with International Goals

By aligning with the goals of the Paris Agreement, Kenya demonstrates its commitment to international climate change objectives. Not only does this foster shared responsibility and collective action to tackle global issues like climate change, but it also allows African countries to tap into international funding and technology transfers. These resources help them implement sustainable strategies and increase their resilience against climate change impacts.

  1. Embracing Nature-Based Solutions

One of the standout aspects of this amendment is its focus on nature-based solutions to address climate change, human health, food and water security, and disaster risk reduction effectively. It underscores the importance of actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore natural ecosystems, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits​​.

The bill also seeks to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, enhance forest carbon stock at national and sub-national levels, and includes activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the sustainable management of forests and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

  1. Public Participation

The Kenyan government’s approach of inviting public comments and inputs on the proposed amendment emphasizes the role of citizens in shaping the country’s environmental policy. This strategy encourages public ownership of climate change policies and fosters a collective responsibility towards environmental conservation.

Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry set a deadline of May 26, 2023, for public participation. Virtual public meetings were held between May 10 and May 24, 2023, to discuss the proposed amendment and receive input from the public. We are pleased to add that we at Verst Carbon also submitted our views on the proposed Climate Change Amendment Bill and are awaiting the ratification of the bill. This inclusive approach ensures that the views of all stakeholders are taken into consideration in the development of climate change policies.

  1. Fostering Public and Private Sector Collaboration

A key aspect of the proposed amendment is the involvement of both the public and private sectors in the implementation of non-market approaches. These approaches aim to promote mitigation and adaptation ambition, enhance public and private sector participation in the implementation of nationally determined contributions, and enable opportunities for coordination across instruments and relevant institutional arrangements​​.

Moreover, the Act will allow public and private entities to participate in carbon markets, fostering the transfer and transaction of emission reduction units, mitigation outcomes, and offsets generated through various initiatives, programs, and projects.

A Model for African Countries

The proposed Climate Change (Amendment) Bill 2023 represents a significant step forward in Kenya’s climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. By incorporating nature-based solutions, engaging both the public and private sectors, and promoting public participation, Kenya is setting a holistic and inclusive blueprint for other nations on the continent. The success of this bill could pave the way for similar initiatives across the continent, driving Africa towards a more sustainable and resilient future in the face of climate change.

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