The war on climate change has gone a notch higher with the launch of a climate change resource center to aid in sharing of information across East African states and their neighbours, months after World Bank launched another initiative to assist local companies deploy locally developed climate friendly solutions.
The center now bolsters Kenya's efforts to mitigate the vagaries of weather that have now taken their toll on farmers and the entire economy with changing planting and harvesting periods now disrupting food supply across the nation.
The centre which will allow East African member states to share their experiences with change in climate will have state of the art scientific equipment be set up and is located at the Kenya Meteorological Department.
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resource Ali Mohamed said action on climate change by countries in Africa is a must to secure the survival of African countries, peoples, natural resources and economic competitiveness.
“The center is based at the Kenya Meteorological Department and is a follow up to the recently launched World Bank-supported Climate Innovation Center based at Strathmore University,” he said.
The resource centre will also assist in publishing, sharing and dissemination of climate change information.
The Programme funded by Japan through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will also assist the Kenya Meteorological department rescue its crucial past data by storing it in digital form. Data between 1929 and 1950 was stored in tapes while the rest was on paper.
Mohammed noted that best practice in reducing the risks and harnessing these opportunities related to climate change undertaken by Kenya and other African countries can be shared across national and regional borders in addressing common vulnerabilities and achieving sustainable development.
The center couldnt have come at an opportune moment as scientists argue that although climate change is a global challenge, its effects are felt most strongly in Africa who rely hugely on agriculture for survival. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that temperature increases will be, on average, 50% greater in Africa. Scientists predict that a rise of 4°C would cause temperatures to increase by up to 7°C in Southern and East Africa, a climactic change that would systemically threaten livelihoods in the region.
The center is now poised to complement the efforts of the Climate Innovation Center recently launched by the World Bank. The facility offers services to a growing network of climate innovators and entrepreneurs and is expected to support up to 70 sustainable climate technology ventures in the first five years. The successful implementation of the centre will pave way for the establishment of six other similar centres to be set up in the near future.
The University of Nairobi has equally been actively involved in addressing climate change. Last year it established a climate change department that has crafted a whole syllabus on how regional farmers can best insulate themselves from the vagaries of weather.
The course, which is the first of its kind in Eastern Africa, will focus on governance, case studies and co-benefits of mitigation.
The latest science estimates the average production losses by 2050 for African maize at 22 per cent, sorghum 17 per cent, millet 17 per cent, groundnut 18 per cent and cassava 8 per cent as a result of rise in temperatures.
Written by Aloyse Muinde for African Laughter