Kenya's Road to a More Strategic Climate Change Literacy and Action

Sponsored by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

Since 2018, the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) has been working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Government of Kenya, and other stakeholders, to develop a more strategic approach to climate change learning.

What is climate change?

Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place. It can be in a particular location or the planet as a whole.

Climate change threatens the ability of humanity to ensure global food security, to eradicate poverty and to achieve sustainable development. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activity and livestock are a significant driver of climate change, trapping heat in the earth's atmosphere and triggering global warming.

Effects of climate change

Climate change has both direct and indirect effects on agricultural productivity. This is through changing rainfall patterns, drought, flooding and geographical redistribution of pests and diseases. The vast amounts of carbon-dioxide absorbed by the oceans cause acidification, influencing their health and those whose livelihoods and nutrition depend on them.

Why is a climate change strategic approach important?

The global community recognises that education plays a critical role in the transition towards a low-carbon global economy. Education (formal, informal and non-formal, and across all levels from early learning to professional level) is a powerful element in equipping individuals, communities and the world with the understanding, knowledge, skills and attitudes to engage in shaping green, low emission and climate resilient societies.

The UN CC:Learn project in Kenya is led by the Climate Change Directorate under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. It is implemented jointly by the Ministry of Education, FAO and the Kenya Climate Change Working Group.

Action on climate change in Kenya

Kenya is a leading country in taking action on climate change, having several dedicated national policies. These include the National Climate Change Action Plan, the National Determined Contribution (NDC), and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP). There is also the Education for Sustainable Development Policy.

Kenya is also actively engaged in multiple international initiatives, such as the NAP-Ag and the NAP Readiness Programme (Enhancing Capacity for Planning and Effective Implementation of Climate Change Adaptation in Kenya) that is supported by FAO; the NDC Support Programme; and the Low-Emission Climate Resilient Development Project supported by UNDP as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the NDC Partnership.

Climate change awareness challenge

However, numerous challenges still exist. These include low level of awareness on climate change and its impacts, insufficient public participation and sensitisation, climate change issues not fully integrated into Kenya's formal education system, and inadequate capacity for policy makers at national and sub-national levels on climate change mainstreaming.

There is a need for more outreach and public awareness programmes to ensure that climate change information is freely available and in formats that are suitable for all stakeholders, especially at community level.

Climate change literacy in Kenya

Kenyan climate change capacity development has remained a central theme across all national climate change documents, which include the National Climate Change Response Strategy 2010, National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017, Climate Change Act 2016, National Climate Change Framework Policy 2018, National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-2022, Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP), among others.

In addition, the Climate Change Act 2016 mandates national and county governments to facilitate capacity development for public participation in climate change responses through awareness creation, consultation, representation and access to information. They are also mandated to support climate change research and development, innovation, training and capacity building.

The Climate Change Act 2016 and National Climate Change Framework Policy 2018 stipulates the integration of climate change into national education curricula at all levels, to inculcate climate change awareness among children and youth. The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-2022 prioritises education of learners, on climate change matters. Climate change will be a core element in the national education curricula.

Kenya's first National Climate Change Learning Strategy

Through the joint project, Kenya has developed a 10-year National Climate Change Learning Strategy (2021-2030) with sectoral and cross-cutting action plans to build individual and institutional capacity through climate change learning and skills development.

This has provided the much-needed technical skill and knowledge to support implementation of Kenya's Nationally Determined Contribution and the National Adaptation Plan. In addition, climate change information and knowledge has been made available through various initiatives such as the National Climate Change Resource Centre, the Kenya Climate Change Knowledge Portal, JotoAfrika magazine, among others.

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