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KEPSA, UNEP promote climate action and green growth

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has held a high-level CEOs Roundtable on Private Sector Engagement and Priorities for Business Climate Action on Resilience and Green Growth that will provide opportunities for business leaders to exchange ideas and views.

Speaking at the event, Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Cabinet Secretary (CS) Soipan Tuya said that the forthcoming Africa Climate Summit is more for the Private sector because of the potential and opportunities it will provide them.

Tuya observed that Africa’s private sector is expected to provide 75 per cent of the $3 trillion worth of investment opportunity that climate change presents by 2030, and the private sector has an important role to play in the Climate Change conversation.

The CS maintained that the sector is able to mobilise capital and resources to undertake investment and technological innovation that will underpin low-carbon growth, provide finance for mitigation and adaptation, adopt lower-carbon production processes, and encourage and facilitate more climate-conscious purchasing decisions by consumers.

(L-R) Country Director Food and Land use Coalition, Mr Michael Onchabo, UN Resident Coordinator Mr Stephen Jackson , KEPSA CEO Ms Carole Kariuki, UN Assistant Secretary General, Deputy Executive Director UNEP, Elizabeth Mrema, , Chair KEPSA Environment, Water and Natural Resources Sector Board, Senior Programme Coordinator, Climate Change Programme, UNEP Niklas Hagelberg during the high level CEOs Roundtable on the Private Sector Engagement and priorities for business climate action on resilience and green growth at the Sarova PanAfric Hotel on Monday July 31, 2023. Photo by Rebeccah Maria

“The Africa Climate Summit will present a bold and ambitious new African vision for a Green Growth Agenda that optimises the continent’s abundant human and natural resources and integrates enhanced climate growth,” stated Tuya.

She added that it will be an opportunity to promote effective climate action that enhances livelihoods, accelerates growth, and helps Africa avoid being locked out of international markets and lock in emission-intensive development, given that the world has come to realise the Climate Change and Development nexus.

The CS reiterated the need to maximise the private sector’s contribution to tackling climate change by creating clear and appropriate incentives.

“As a Country, we are already walking the talk; we have amended our Climate Change Act and provided a carbon Market regulatory framework that provides for a transparent space to invest in high-quality Carbon Market projects, and this will help Kenya with its emission reduction commitments, as indicated in our Nationally Determined contributions, with a view to helping us tackle Climate Change,” said Tuya.

At the same time, KEPSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carole Kariuki said that the round table exemplifies the stakeholders’ shared commitment to confront the pressing global issue of climate change and to resolve to chart a path towards driving green growth and climate change solutions for a sustainable future through Private Sector Engagement.

She explained that the objective of the round table is to provide an opportunity for Kenyan-based private sector business leaders to exchange views and ideas on the nexus between trade, investment, and climate action.

“KEPSA has been instrumental in the development of climate change policy and regulatory instruments in Kenya, and as a task force member, we have contributed to the development of the National Climate Change Strategy (2010), the National Climate Change Action Plan I (2013–2017), the Climate Change Act (2016), and the second National Climate Change Action Plan II,” Kariuki disclosed.

According to the CEO, KEPSA has developed, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry and the National Treasury and Economic Development under the GCF NAP Readiness Support, the Private Sector Strategy on Climate Change Solutions (2022–2030) that outlines private sector priorities for reducing emissions, enhancing the resilience of businesses, building their capacities, and fostering public-private partnership.

Kariuki expressed that the private sector is excited about the upcoming Inaugural Africa Climate Summit, co-hosted by Kenya and the African Union, and will seize the opportunity to showcase innovative solutions for climate change and green growth.

“25 per cent of submissions to the Africa Climate Week for considerations for the project showcase and deal rooms were submitted by KEPSA members, and they will support the Government of Kenya in co-hosting the Africa Climate Summit by leveraging on complementarity to unlock more green investment and climate action across sectors,” she added.

Meanwhile, UNEP Deputy Executive Director Elizabeth Mrema said that there are also many positive linkages between action to restore and protect biodiversity, build resilience against climate change, and reduce pollution.

It is therefore urgent, she continued, that policies and regulations, including business policies, strategies, and practises, recognise the importance of supporting a green economy transition that links action on biodiversity, climate, and pollution.

“We cannot maintain and grow the prosperity of current and future generations without mitigating and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change, investing in nature’s capacity to store carbon, and sustaining the biodiversity and resilience of the ecosystems upon which our economies entirely depend; therefore, we must emphasise the importance of considering nature as part of the wider climate conversation,” Mrema cautioned.

Concurrently, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya, Dr. Stephen Jackson, said that Climate change poses immense risks to the environment, societies, and economies and demands immediate and collective action from all sectors of society.

He pointed out that businesses play a crucial role in driving the necessary transformation by leveraging their expertise, resources, and influence and, therefore, have the power to lead the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future.

“As CEOs, you are not only leaders in your respective industries but also key influencers in shaping the future of our planet. The purpose of this round table is to foster collaboration, exchange ideas, and identify innovative strategies that can drive meaningful change towards a sustainable and resilient future,” stressed Jackson.

Jackson disclosed that Kenya is a signatory to international agreements like the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the country has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, subject to international support.

Kenya is actively engaged in global climate negotiations and advocates for the interests of African countries,” he maintained.

By Rebeccah Maria

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