This report was commissioned as part of a larger study by the African Forest Forum (AFF), to review regional plans and programmes related to people, forests and climate change by partner states of the East African Community (EAC) and the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). EAC and IGAD are both sub-regional institutions with differences emanating from the laws that established them. EAC was established under a treaty while IGAD was established by an agreement. These different methods of establishment seem to have a bearing on the way the two institutions operate/function, as reflected by the differences in what the secretariats to EAC and IGAD are doing regarding climate change.
EAC has achieved more progress compared to IGAD in implementing climate change programmes. For example, EAC has developed and enacted climate change policy instruments to guide and coordinate implementation of programmes in partner states while IGAD has not. Also, the number of climate change and related programmes on environment and natural resources management and conservation policy instruments, and approved CDM and CDM application projects are more in EAC than in IGAD member states, except for Kenya and Uganda whose memberships overlap in the two Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
Main findings
All the EAC and IGAD member states have signed and ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and, as a requirement, do submit NAPA and NAMA reports. However, only the EAC has developed a climate change policy, a strategy and a plan, proposed the creation of a Climate Change Fund, and entered into a regional collaboration on climate change with COMESA. At the national level, only Kenya has developed a climate change strategy established a Climate Change Coordination Unit (CCCU) and proposed the establishment of a National Climate Change Fund. By contrast, IGAD has not developed any climate change policy, strategy or plan. Instead, IGAD has developed disaster risk assessment and preparedness policies and also established drought and famine early warning institutions (i.e., ICPAC, AMESD, EWARN, etc.); that are also furnishing climate change risk prediction data. As such, this report recommends that IGAD also, needs to develop a sub-regional climate change policy through which it will guide and coordinate its member states in the implementation of climate change programmes.
Although EAC has achieved some success in developing climate change instruments, actual implementation lies with the partner states. Perhaps, one challenge faced by the EAC sub-region, regarding the climate change policy instruments it has developed, is how to translate their good intentions into sustainable and effective actions; and how resource investments for implementation of the programmes can be secured in order to reduce longterm vulnerability. Underlying climate change risks and closely coupled with lack of implementation resources, is the lack and/or inadequate capacity (knowledge, skills, competencies, personnel and at different levels) to mainstream climate change into national development programmes at national and community levels. Capacity-building is a very important area that this report strongly recommends for strengthening by both EAC and IGAD (once they have developed climate change policy instruments). Inadequate, or lack, of resources to finance climate change programmes is a key constraint. National governments confronted with other immediate priorities (e.g., >40% youth unemployment rate, >50% poverty levels, food insecurity, etc.), are able to only allocate limited funds to climate change due to its perceived low priority. In order to address this shortcoming, it is recommended that climate change be adequately and effectively integrated into all development programmes as it is, in any case, a cross-cutting issue.
Key climate change needs
Gender and youth mainstreaming into climate change risk reduction and management
Women, children and vulnerable groups are the worst affected by climate change disasters. But since gender is a social construct, more often than not, women are left out in discussions/decisions that most affect them. As a result, strategies and plans developed are often gender-blind. Since 50% of any population is comprised of women and >65% is madeup of young people under 15 years of age; it is very important that gender and youth considerations be mainstreamed – including participation – into all climate change programme stages (planning, implementation, review, etc.).
Increased financial support for climate change risk reduction initiatives
The EAC-CCMP (2011-2031) presents a budget for supporting the implementation of identified climate change activities. But this is not sufficient, considering more needs to be done according to the identified implementation gaps by the present report. As such, an EAC Climate Change Fund has also been proposed. Countries, on their part, are struggling financially, as far as climate change is concerned. Poverty and the argument that their small or even negative contributions to GHG emission, make them misguidedly reluctant to allocate their limited national resources to climate change programmes. As such, financing implementation of climate change activity is left at the mercy of available global (UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, etc.) financing mechanisms. Despite this, compared to countries like China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Indonesia, EAC and IGAD member states have performed poorly in accessing available resources from global climate change mechanisms to implement CDM projects. This report therefore recommends that special attention/assistance be given to address this area (accessing global climate change funds), in order to move climate change risk management and avoidance in the sub-region forward. Considering their areas of comparative advantage, it is recommended that AFF develops a climate change framework, to inform national governments on how to increase access to financial support for risk reduction initiatives.
Mainstreaming climate change risk reduction into development planning
Climate change affects all government functions at the macro-level (through all ministries and departments) and at the micro-level (through effects on communities), although not equally. Focal ministries responsible for climate change, through CCCUs, should make it their responsibility to mainstream climate change into all other development and nondevelopment programmes; with special emphasis attached to community-level implementation and gender. Of special interest is the prominent role of forestry – especially tree planting under agroforestry systems. Yet, the link between climate change and an increase of tree area seems to be assumed, rather than being clearly explained and promoted. The same is true of farmer managed natural regeneration. Other than promoting trees for tree’s sake, AFF should develop a deliberate approach that links and/or integrates tree production into day-to-day community resilience and climate change risk reduction, risk avoidance and increased resilience.
Improved identification, assessment, and awareness of climate change risks
Droughts resulting in famine, floods, landslides and climate related epidemics are a common occurrence risk faced by inhabitants of EAC and IGAD. Vulnerability of inhabitants to these disaster risks is responsible for high levels of poverty in the region. Although collaborations between national institutions (like meteorological stations) and sub-regional institutions (like ICPAC) exist, coordination between and among them is at best very poor and at worst non-existent. Therefore, there is not only need to strengthen knowledge and understanding of geographical distribution, type and extent of climate change disaster risk and vulnerability, but also an urgent need for effective coordination and exchange of knowledge and information. Profiling of climate change risk and potential impacts to development, at both national and community levels should also be intensified.
Developing climate change programme management and coordination capacity
Inadequate capacity, and in some cases complete absence of climate change technicians/professionals, is a major problem in the effective domestication and implementation of developed policies, strategies and plans. In this regard there is an urgent need to introduce climate change as a subject of study at all institutions of learning. An approach that presents climate change as a cross-cutting issue should be adopted in capacity training. A serious problem facing member states of EAC and IGAD is the proliferation of institutions with climate change agenda, but currently without coordination mechanisms for information distribution or even how to assess impacts of human capacity enhancement programmes.
Enhanced knowledge management for climate change risk reduction
Effective climate change risk management can only take place when knowledge on disaster risk reduction options is adequately disseminated. There is need therefore to strengthen regional, national and local mechanisms for knowledge sharing; through all available methods (i.e., radio, newspaper, theatre, traditional folklore and story-telling, etc.). The aim should be to share experiences and information, identify needs and encourage closer collaboration.
Increased public awareness for climate change risk reduction
Institutions responsible for climate related risk assessment exist in EAC (e.g., National Meteorological Stations), and IGAD (e.g.., ICPAC, AMESD, EWARN). But these are little known by the general public, let alone many central government ministries and departments. To be aware is an important component of empowerment. All available means should therefore be used in making institutions (private and public) and individuals aware of the risks posed by climate change, as well as management and avoidance options available to them.
Facilitating the strengthening of climate change risk reduction institutions
Mandate for climate change in all the countries is scattered in many government ministries, except for Kenya which has established a CCCU. Coordination of climate change activities of these institutions is not only weak but also ineffective. Competition and rivalry for scarce resources is also a serious problem. All countries should therefore formulate climate change policies, strategies and plans; and establish CCCUs to coordinate climate change activities. For this to happen, it is necessary for countries to raise more resources (financial and human) for this purpose.
Integrating climate change risk reduction into disaster response management
States have not developed climate change policies, strategies and plans; except for Kenya. Current handling of climate change activities is uncoordinated and has an add-on rather than an integrated approach. EAC and IGAD member states should integrate climate change response actions into disaster response management.