Use realistic approach to deal with climate change, Kenya tells United Nations

Kenya has today challenged the United Nations Security Council-UNSC to use realistic approach to mitigate climate change.

Through the Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo, Kenya said climate change is leading to profound effects globally with respect to extreme weather conditions, migration, resource competition, and on the livelihoods and economies of millions of people across the world.

She said these are combining to increase the fragility of states, propagating resource conflict and escalating existing violent confrontations.

While making her presentation during the UNSC open debate on maintenance of International Peace and Security focusing on climate change, Omamo in her six-point presentation said the council should keep in mind that climate change adaptation will need to deliver on conflict prevention and resolution.

The CS said it will call for the commitments made to the regions that have not caused climate change but are experiencing its adverse effects to be implemented in a conflict-sensitive fashion.

“On its part, and given its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the Council should also take a realistic approach to dealing with climate change particularly in climate conflict situations,” she said.

She argued that the growing body of evidence on the climate-security nexus must be developed with experts, states and institutions in the Global South where the challenge is most keenly felt.

Omamo said the research agenda must be inclusive for to enable emerging policy recommendations to be vividly embraced.

The definitive research on this nexus will need to benefit from the Science-Policy Interface that is anchored in the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) domiciled in Nairobi,” she said adding, “Mr. President, as UNEP prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday, its place at the centre of environmental multilateralism must be restored and strengthened if the battle against climate change is to be won.”

According to Omamo, technologies and practices that have been employed over long periods of time by millions of people are often not only resilient, but are also often, more fit for purpose.

She said the council therefore needs to build on local knowledge and practices that are proven to work especially in enhancing resilience of communities against climate change effects.

“It is this indigenous knowledge (which is often the knowledge of women) that can form the basis of peace and mediation efforts with respect to climate induced conflicts,” she said.

Omamo said the highest priority must be given to climate action not compromising the ability of countries to develop rapidly.

She reiterated that climate action must be fair and must be seen to be fair for it to draw the support of the vast majority of states.

“After all, we all understand that the bulk of the resources for climate adaptation will need to be drawn from domestic resources. Meaning that countries will need to have access to revenues from growing economies if they are to respond adequately in a fashion that protects peace and security,” Omamo said.

She challenged the council to further develop early warning systems that map climate change hotspots to enable decision-making tools that prevent and minimise conflict at the national, regional and international levels.

“UN Peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions especially those in Africa must have clear climate action mandates, including environmental protection and restoration particularly within the sprawling refugee camps within our continent,” she said.

Omamo said these missions must also have the ability to collect data especially gender disaggregated data to understand the nexus between women, climate change and conflict.

She said these African Peace Support missions must have the capabilities to respond to climate change calamities to protect vulnerable people.

Omamo said Kenya will continue to be an anchor in the articulation of global environmental issues.

“We will, in this regard, remain a strong and consistent voice for Africa, and the Global South, including Small Island Developing States in the pursuit of representative climate and security solutions,” she said.

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