STATEMENT BY H.E. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H. PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, DURING THE COP26 WORLD LEADERS’ SUMMIT PLENARY SESSION – KENYA NATIONAL STATEMENT GLASGOW, SCOTLAND 1ST NOVEMBER 2021

On November 1, 2021 In Speeches & Statements

Prime Minister Boris Johnson,

Heads of State and Government,

Mr. Alok Sharma, the President of COP26,

UN Secretary General,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I warmly congratulate you Mr. Alok Sharma on your election as President of COP26 and commend the Governments of the United Kingdom and Italy for hosting COP26, despite challenging Covid-19 circumstances.  I applaud the Government of Chile for hosting a successful COP25 in 2019.

A key priority during Kenya’s tenure at the United Nations Security Council is to amplify the voice of Africa and the Global South, in building a compelling case for the nexus between climate change and security.  This is because we recognise that climate change is escalating and complicating new and old conflicts throughout the world.

Excellencies,

The evidence is irrefutable.  All the reports, including the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, sound a loud alarm that the world risks facing a global catastrophe unless leaders shift gear on climate change.  We need to urgently implement bold mitigation and adaptation measures to avert the looming crisis.  It is the least we can do to bequeath a peaceful and sustainable planet to future generations.

Climate change poses an existential threat to Kenya, and to most countries in the African continent.  In Kenya, extreme weather events including floods and droughts, lead to losses of 3 – 5% of our GDP annually.  Further, they aggravate food insecurity and trigger divisive intra-community and inter-country competition for resources.

Mr President,

Kenya has developed a robust Climate Change Action Plan to scale up efforts to maintain a low carbon development trajectory.

The plan includes commitment to restore degraded water towers, accelerate forest restoration and increase tree cover to at least 10 percent of our land area, promote a sustainable blue economy and green manufacturing.

As many of you know, Kenya, is a pacesetter in the energy sector.  We are among the top eight (8) global leaders in geothermal power development and home to the largest wind power project in Africa.

Currently close to 90 percent of the electricity used by Kenyans is from renewable energy sources. We plan to achieve 100 % renewable energy use by 2030.

As you can see, Ladies and Gentlemen, Kenya is doing its fair share.  Let me, however, hasten to add, that these are baby steps relative to the enormity of the climate change challenge.

Kenya came to this meeting with high expectation that COP26 will deliver on at least four issues:

First, we would like to see an increase in ambition in emissions reduction. The major emitters must make more ambitious their emission reduction commitments. We all must harness low-carbon investment opportunities, as we reboot our economies.

Second, we would like to see a quantum increase in Climate Finance.  Two times in a row, developing countries have been promised US $100 billion per year but it has not yet been delivered today yet again another pledge of 2023.

Third, we would like to see ambition on Adaptation and loss and damage - with climate impacts increasing, provisions to help the most vulnerable to adapt, including through increased financial support, should be strengthened.

Finally, we expect that detailed rules and procedures for implementing the Paris agreement will be finalised, and a clear way forward for a climate resilient pathway set. We also expect that the agreement will be sufficiently inclusive to accommodate the needs and priorities of developing countries and in particular, the special circumstances of Africa which has been very ably put forward earlier and very well articulated by Elizabeth Wathuti the young girl who spoke to us. 

Indeed the findings of the international science community including the recent report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change on the physical science and basis of climate underscores the special needs and circumstance of Africa contributing to the vulnerability and the low adaptation capacity of African countries to climate change.

The IPCC further notes that even with the scaled global action, it will not be possible to avoid and to or reduce loss and damage from the impacts of climate change and that by 2030 the economic costs in developing countries is expected to be between US dollars 290 billion and US dollars 580 billion.

Throughout Africa, as the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of climate change, countries are already experiencing loss and damage of an increasing magnitude and frequency. We are therefore deeply concerned to hear that yesterday during the adoption of the agenda of this conference, the item on the special needs and circumstances of Africa was yet again not adopted. And we expect the Co-President to undertake extensive and comprehensive consultations and address the special needs and circumstances of African States and indeed report to us before the close of the session of the conference.

In conclusion, Excellencies, our Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner of all time, and our Climate Champion, who is here with us, has demonstrated to us that in a race against time, no human is limited.  We have the means and the ability to protect our planet from climate change-related destruction and to secure peace and stability for us all.

What we now need is to recognize that we are in a race against time, and we need unanimity of purpose, boldness, and unwavering political commitment to achieve the 1.5 degree pathway.

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