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Counties told to tackle climate change

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party leader Raila Odinga has called for concerted efforts between the county and national governments to tackle issues affecting climate change in order to grow the economy.

Odinga particularly said the county governments need to take lead in offering leadership especially in educating the people about climate change whenever a calamity occurs, they are the first contact with the citizens at the grassroots.

Consequently, the former Prime Minister said counties should enact policies, formulate legal frameworks and also set aside funds to tackle issues impacting negatively on climate change. “I laud ASAL counties like Kitui, Garissa, Wajir, Makueni and Isiolo for enacting laws and setting aside funds to mitigate issues of climate change. This is the leadership we are looking for at the grassroots,” said Odinga while addressing delegates at the 7th Devolution Conference hosted at Makueni Boys High School in Makueni County.

The ODM leader said that Kenya has experienced high temperatures, unpredictable rain patterns besides increased incidences of drought and floods and rising sea levels. Further, he said that extreme weather trends had also led to loss of lives and diminished livelihoods besides reduced crop and livestock production and damaged infrastructure in the country.

“Our key enablers of the economy like agriculture, water, energy, tourism and wildlife are extremely climate sensitive. If we don’t tackle issues of climate change, our efforts to grow the economy will be in vain,” said the ODM party leader.

On partnership, Odinga said that there was need for the two levels of government to work closely saying counties should be the centre of focus. He challenged counties to mainly ensure job creation for the unemployed youths.

Saying people should feel their governments, the former prime minister said the two levels of government need to come up with new ways of dealing with problems and solve them to make counties stronger partners and be part of the solution.

Odinga further said there should be increased agriculture productivity coupled with value addition and manufacturing for increased incomes and creation of more employment opportunities.

Odinga also said there was need to work together to ensure efficient targeted fertilizer subsidy and a clear programme for mechanization of agriculture and water management for irrigation.

He called for deployment of extension officers and having a functioning system of market access to see counties go past agriculture and venture into manufacturing and value addition.

“No level of government will succeed when the other is failing. Take economic growth for instance where the national economy is weak, the counties are disempowered. So growth leads to jobs and lowering the cost of living must be a shared concern for both national and county governments,” he said.

By Patrick Nyakundi

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