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The Kenya Climate Change Act was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May 2016, marking a key milestone for the country’s climate change agenda. It delivers legislation providing for the participation of marginalized communities and indigenous peoples in climate change decision-making processes in Kenya. The new Climate Change Act and the existing Climate Change Policy provide coordination and implementation of climate change resilience and low carbon growth for sustainable development in Kenya. The UN-REDD Programme supported the developing of the act, ensuring that it contains provisions required for a supportive legislation for REDD+ in Kenya, and – positioning REDD+ issues more strategically in the context of the climate change agenda in Kenya.

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Members of the Parliament Committee on Environment (both National Assembly and Senate), Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
led by the former permanent secretary Dr. Lesiyampe, and civil society representives during  a Climate Change Act consultation meeting.
(Photo: Kenya  Ministry  of Environment, Natural  Resources and  Regional  Development)

 

The long road towards the adoption of the Climate Change Act has benefitted from the experiences and skills of different stakeholders working on climate change in the country, including the UN-REDD Programme, and has been facilitated by civil society organizations with strong support from authorities with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development. To enhance public participation in the development process, the ministry established a technical task force drawn from different government ministries, civil society, private sector and academia to develop the national Climate Change Policy and law. 

Scientific and factual based knowledge has been a key ingredient in the research and development dimension of the act captured through the National Climate Change Response Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan – as well as lessons drawn from Kenya’s REDD+ readiness process. The act development process  has also  benefited from REDD+ key analytics and resources such as the Assessment of the Corruption Risks in REDD+ in Kenya, Carbon Rights and Benefit Sharing for REDD in Kenya, the Carbon Benefits Distribution, Green Economy Study,  Legal Reform for Legal Reforms for REDD+ Implementation Kenya,  and other relevant technical studies.

The Climate Change Act has established a Climate Change Council chaired by the President as the overarching body coordinating all matters on climate change in Kenya. The Council is made up of representatives from different government ministries as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society and marginalized communities. The act will ultimately lead to the creation of institutions aimed at tackling environmental issues related to climate change.

The act lays a very strong foundation for the REDD+ process in Kenya, as it requires development of climate change action plans outlining clear mitigation and adaptation measures. Further, the act requires establishment of anticorruption measures in order to safeguard climate finance including REDD+ finance. The UN-REDD Programme, through UNDP, has supported the establishment of the anti-corruption taskforce in Kenya aimed at identifying how REDD+ can be more transparent and accountable and to support the implementation of social safeguards. The taskforce on anti-corruption contributed to the Climate Change Act as well as the Climate Finance Policy.

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