State studying climate change effects on vulnerable groups

The aim is to guide targeted response and mobilise resources

In Summary

• Without sex-disaggregated data, it is difficult to fully understand the gendered impacts of climate change

• The areas targeted in the mapping include agriculture, water and energy

A victim of floods sits outside her marooned house at the Ombaka in Nyando. Some 4,500 people have been affected by floods in the subcounty as of May 1
A victim of floods sits outside her marooned house at the Ombaka in Nyando. Some 4,500 people have been affected by floods in the subcounty as of May 1

As the devasting impacts of climate change heighten, vulnerable groups are hardest hit.

They include girls, women and persons living with disabilities.

However, lack of data hinders targeted response.

It is for this reason that the State Department for Gender and Affirmative Action, led by Veronica Nduva, launched the Gender and Climate Change Vulnerabilities Hotspot Mapping.

The multi-agency team is composed of officials drawn from the Ministry of Environment’s climate change directorate, the State Department of Gender and Affirmative Action, the Kenya Meteorological Department and the Ministries of Energy, Water and Agriculture.

The study is being funded by Africa Development Bank and the Africa Union Development Agency.

The mapping will concurrently take place in Kenya, Uganda and Botswana and is supported by the African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (Agnes).

Agnes is a continental think tank that provides technical support to the AGN that advances the common African position on climate change under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In Kenya, the mapping exercise is expected to be concluded by August, and targets agriculture, water and energy.

“The launch marks a significant milestone in Kenya's efforts towards effectively addressing the impacts of climate change, particularly for vulnerable groups,” Nduva said.

“The aim is to promote gender-responsive planning and decision-making in Kenya’s response to climate change.”

The PS said gender equality is a critical component of development.

Various legal interventions have been put in place to advance gender equality.

These include the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Vision 2030 and the National Gender and Development Policy.

Moreover, Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 is dedicated to achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in all spheres.

Nduva said despite a progressive legislative framework, there are still challenges in addressing gender inequalities across sectors, which are exacerbated by climate change. 

“As we congregate here today, therefore, we must start asking ourselves questions such as: Does the effect of climate change on agriculture, on water and energy impact on me differently by virtue of my being male or female?” she asked.

Nduva said climate change presents a major threat globally and to Kenya’s sustainable development.

She said the impact hampers the effective realisation of our Vision 2030, which aims to create a competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life for everyone.

“Our country continues to experience the impacts of climate change as weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable and climate-related disasters increase in frequency and magnitude,” Nduva said.

“Our economy which depends on climate-sensitive natural resources and sectors is adversely impacted by prevailing climate-related circumstances.

“These have the potential to increase vulnerability, reverse development gains and further entrench gender inequalities.”

Nduva said the National Climate Change Response Strategy shows that agriculture contributes 26 per cent of Kenya's GDP and employs over 70 per cent of the population.

However, she noted, climate change has led to increased variability in rainfall patterns, which has led to crop failures, food shortages, and loss of income for farmers.

The strategy also notes that energy and water sectors are equally impacted by climate change, with increased temperatures and reduced rainfall leading to reduced hydropower generation and water scarcity for domestic and other uses.

Nduva said the impact of climate change on vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls, cannot be overstated.

She said without sex-disaggregated data, however, it is difficult to fully understand the gendered impacts of climate change.

The PS said with data, the country will be able to design effective climate policies and programmes that respond to the specific needs and concerns of men and women of different intersections.

In addition, Nduva said, the data is important in climate action because it enables policymakers and other stakeholders to identify appropriate policies and programmes based on actual needs.

For example, data on women's access to land and other productive resources can inform policies that promote women's land rights and support women's participation in climate-resilient agriculture.

Similarly, data on women's and girls' access to energy and water can inform policies that address gender inequalities in access to these resources.

“I am, therefore, excited that this mapping exercise will aid in providing data for implementation of some of the government’s nine-point agenda for women,” she said.

“Particularly aspects around a clean, safe environment and energy sources as well as secure land rights for all.”

Nduva said once successfully completed, the hotspot mapping will form a strong basis for future interventions in climate change actions from a gender perspective, thus enhancing the quality of decisions taken by the national and county governments in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“It is my sincere hope that counties will integrate and fortify the outcomes of this mapping into their CIDPs, and use the results to strengthen the role of their Climate Change Units,” she said.

Agnes team lead George Wamukoya said the data generated will be shared in the upcoming first Africa Climate Summit set for September in Nairobi, as well as Africa Climate Week.

Wamukoya said the results will also help the country to mobilise climate cash during climate change talks slated to take place in Dubai later in the year.

The 28th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 28) will take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 23.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star