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CS Calls for Collaboration Among States in Solving Global Environmental Issues

Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Ms. Roselinda Soipan Tuya has called for collaboration between and among states in tackling environmental issues facing the world today.

She said the issues of climate change and pollution, among others, are enormous, threatening the very existence of the entire humanity, therefore requiring constructive global policy and diplomatic discussions in order to find a lasting solution to this global crisis.

“Environmental degradation does not respect political boundaries and when environmental catastrophes happen, everyone bears the brunt. However, we in the developing regions of the world such as Africa tend to suffer the consequences more because of our climate-sensitive economies,” the CS said.

The remarks were contained in a speech read on her behalf by the Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Mr. Peter Elung`ata during the official opening of the workshop on Science for Environment Diplomacy in Kenya held ta Naivasha on Monday.

Sweden Ambassador to Kenya Caroline Vicini speaking during the official opening of the workshop on Science for Environment Diplomacy in Kenya held at Naivasha

The theme of the workshop was: Reflections from the past to inform Future under Climate Change brings together retired and former ambassadors, foreign service officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officers from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, young environment leaders, and other key stakeholders, to reflect on Kenya’s rich heritage, and the country’s contributions to global environmental diplomacy, to inform and help advance Kenya’s history of engagement in addressing environmental problems within and beyond our borders.

Tuya said Environmental Diplomacy as a phenomenon of the 20th and 21st centuries developed as a reaction of the world community to the growing threat of environmental disasters as the global community seeks to understand the origin of environmental problems and find ways of solving them, especially at this time when there is scientific evidence on the scale of environmental degradation resulting to climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution which is overwhelming and incontrovertible.

The CS noted that some outcomes of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAS), due to the decision-making process are not democratic enough to include the actual voice of suffering countries and certain decisions are imposed on them which are unnatural to the catastrophe they face and this has had little effect in making these countries achieve environmental sustainability.

“Green diplomacy tools are applied in countries around the world, contributing to the protection of the environment, as well as improving the international image of “ecological” countries,” the CS observed but noted that at the same time, this green diplomacy raises challenges such as over-bureaucratization of the green diplomacy, the North-South problem and national “sectoral” approach to solving environmental issues.

Tuya explained that due to the prevalence of various environmental problems in certain countries and regions, there is a focus on certain aspects of environmental development rather than solving the whole range of environmental problems.

On the issue of the North-South axis, the CS observed that the developing countries of the South do not have the necessary financial resources to carry out environmental activities.

She said the United Nations (UN) environmental activities are also accompanied by a huge number of commissions, convention secretariats, and other subsidiary bodies, which often complicate the green resolution process and, as a consequence, the entry into force of some documents.

Ms. Tuya stated that consultations and negotiations on emerging environmental problems, the signing of bilateral and multilateral environmental agreements may also offer some economic protection instruments of the environment such as penalties for causing damage to the natural environment; ecological taxes; subsidies to producers seeking to make their production more environmentally friendly and development of the natural resources among others.

She praised Kenya’s history and record in the pursuit of solutions to intractable global challenges that has put her in a unique position to contribute constructively and gave an example where in June/July 2022 Kenya co-hosted the United Nations Oceans Conference (UNOC) with Portugal, following our successful hosting of the first ever Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi in 2018.

“Moving forward, apart from leadership in the multilateral fronts like has been shown, Kenya might want to consider launching an initiative called “Green embassy” aimed at reduction of the environmental impact of our embassy buildings across the globe, where we can showcase eco-friendly energy generation and waste management, given that we are a strong voice on fronts such as renewable energy,” Tuya said.

Sweden Ambassador to Kenya Caroline Vicini called for use of scientific resources to address global environmental change including climate change and other emerging environmental risks.

She welcomed the call for the change of financing model for climate change initiatives which she said would help most affected countries deploy adequate mitigation measures.

She challenged Kenya to have a policy dialogue on issues touching on environmental protection noting that the country should take lead in climate change adaptation plans.

Ambassador Emeritus and former head of Civil Service Francis Mathaura called for the establishment of a local Urban Institute to support county government planning as population growth pile pressure on urban areas.

He noted there was a need for enhanced scientific research to address the increase in pollution on rivers and the environment.

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku 

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