Kitu Friday March 9 By Brian Peter and Augustus Muteti
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has launched a campaign to have the county government integrate climate change issues into the CIDP.
Partnering with CARITAS Kitui, PACJA held a three-day stakeholders participatory Scenario Planning workshop last week, with the objective of drafting a climate change advisory for the county government. The workshop, which was held at the Parkside Villa Motel Kitui, brought together stakeholders from the county Meteorological department, the ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Livestock, CSOs, Traditional weather forecasters, and the media.
The participatory scenario planning (PSP) is aimed at documenting observations, data analysis of the past periods and future forecasts of the county weather characters. PACJA intends to collect weather and climate information about Kitui County from the people’s observations, government meteorological services records, large farming practitioners, agricultural research stations and learning institutions. Climate knowledge will then be derived from the weather/climate information collected; after it is contextualized, analyzed, and translated for practical use, it will then be applied in different situations in our county.
Several issues emerged during the conference, with the Meteorological department revealing that it is heavily understaffed. With only three government employees, the department is forced to rely almost entirely on unpaid volunteers, alongside having an unbelievable media coverage budget allocation of mere Ksh. 20,000 annually! This limits its ability to communicate timely weather and climate information through the media. There also exist just five automatic weather stations and only one synoptic station in the entire county making it a big challenge to scale down the national weather forecasts to the ward levels, and increasing the error margin for weather forecasts to over 75%.
“This is sadly a key factor to blame for the past failure of the Ndengu Project,” the County Meteorological department director Mr. Peter Ndegwa revealed during his presentation at the workshop.
Kitui County has suffered the onslaughts of climate change in the past three decades. According to a recent research in Kitui County, organized by Caritas Kitui and conducted by Savana Consultancy and Research Services Ltd; on the county ecosystem based adaptation (EBA): the frequency of droughts has increased from a circle of once every five years to a nearly annual basis. Subsequently, farmers are becoming more unable to respond to local needs, with the growing population. Climate change has caused loss of bio-diversity, reduction of tree cover, larger than normal droughts and famines, and the April rains (locally known as ‘Mbua ya Nzwa’) is no longer received at all in some areas in the county.
A technical task force committee, comprised of 23 members, has been formed to draft the proposal for the integration of the PSP into the CIDP; drawing its members from across all the major stakeholders in the climate change fight. This committee will meet on 15th March 2018 to delegate on the way forward.The members of this Climate Change Policy Steering committee are:
|Ministry of environment & Minerals department & Energy||Winfred Paul
|Kenya Forestry Service||Paul Kibagendi|
|Water Department||Titus Saidi|
|Meteorology Department||Dr. William Ndegwa|
|NRM Groups/community Reps||John Itute|
|County assembly members||MCA Kavolonza, chair of Environment Committee
-Chair Agriculture committee
|Academia||David Musembi-SEKU University|
|Community Resource Persons||Lazarus Kanewe|
|Health sector||1 person|
|Education sector||Joseph Nzuki|
|Social & Culture||2 persons from SEKU university|
PACJA’s key objective is to have PSP as an activity incorporated into the county CIDP instead of waiting for donors to fund it. Climate change is purely anthropogenic, and it’s is the responsibility of the Kitui County Government to integrate climate change coping strategies in its CIDP; which was scheduled to be presented to the cabinet yesterday.
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