Kenya has launched a project worth $34 million to help vulnerable communities adapt to the impact of drought brought about by climate change, reports Reuters. The objective is to restore more than 500,000 hectares of rangelands used for grazing by livestock and wildlife.
Although African countries emit the least global emissions, they are greatly impacted by the climate crisis. Located in East Africa, Kenya’s climate varies from tropical on the coast to temperate inland, to dry in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) located in north and east. The country is very vulnerable to climate change: temperatures are expected to rise up to 2.5 degrees Celsius between 2000 and 2050, and rainfall will become more intense and less predictable. More frequent droughts will challenge water availability and food security, especially in the ASALs.
Keriako Tobiko, the minister responsible for environment and forestry, said these more vulnerable areas make up for 80% of the country’s land mass. “These areas and communities living in these areas are most vulnerable; pastoral communities, nomadic communities and really this programme helps to address the most deserving of cases,” the minister said during an online meeting at the project’s launch.
Officials from the ministry said the five-year Green Climate Fund project will help 620,000 people in 11 counties located in the ASALs. The Green Climate fund was set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010 to channel climate finance to developing countries, paying particular attention to the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Kenya loses some 2.0-2-4% of its GDP per year because of climate change impacts such as droughts and floods, a 2018 report by the National Bureau of Statistics estimated. It also estimated that the cost of droughts account for 8% of GDP every five years.
The impacts of drought are felt at the household level, and are particularly devastating for pastoralists in ASALs, where livestock production, specifically, semi-nomadic pastoralism, is the key source of income, according to Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2018-2022.