AU to assist poor countries in environmental challenges

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation The African Union Commission is working on a strategy to enable African countries mitigate the devastating effects of climate change. Head of Environment, Water and Natural Resources at the African Union Commission Dr Khalil Timamy says poor countries on the continent will be enabled through a kitty to put in place mitigation measures.

Speaking at the African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development – AMESD workshop in Nairobi Wednesday, Timamy said though the strategy is coming late, it is crucial to ensure that there is a set program for African countries to put in place structures that address environmental challenges since climate issues is not a one off matter but a scenario that is evolving and needs to be dealt with.

Timamy urged African governments to incorporate climate information in planning to ensure that development projects are not devastated in the event that they are affected by the vagaries of climate.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development –IGAD Executive Director Eng. Mahboub Maalim said for a long time African countries have not embraced the need to inculcate climate data into the development plans because it has been difficult for policy planners to decipher the information being provided by climate scientists.

“But now there has to be a change of approach, because climate change has caught up with us and we need to deal with the challenges,” he said.

Environment Assistant Minister Ramadhan Kajembe said the IGAD region is the most water-scarce and food insecure region in the world taking up over 40 per cent of annual global food aid.

“The IGAD region is a recipient of about 40 per cent of the annual global food aid,” said Kajembe when he read a statement on behalf of Environment Minister John Michuki.

The Kenya Meteorological Services Director Dr Joseph Mukabana called for more funding to ensure the sustainability of programs aimed at addressing environmental challenges in the region.

He said of the 48 countries globally that have been classified as poor nations, 34 are to be found on the African continent, a matter he said makes programs such as the PUMA unsustainable owing to the large financial resources need to keep them running.

And Daniel Plas who represented the European Union Delegation in Nairobi said the European Union had put aside some Euros 1.9 million under the European Development Fund – EDF for the implementation of thematic actions towards environmental sustainability.

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