Journalists need training on climate change

In Summary

• Even as we face the devastating effects of climate change, Kenya has been running the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Implementation Framework 2018-2027.

The effects of climate change.
The effects of climate change.
Image: FILE

Interventions to establish training for communication professionals including journalists on information sharing relating to problem solving and coping mechanisms for communities with the effects of climate change in Kenya are very strategic and timely. We are currently ill prepared and not giving enough professional attention to climate change issues as a matter of public concern in the country, and as such, we have remained vulnerable to the devastating effects of weather changes at a very costly price.

Information sharing on the matter has remained largely on the aftermath of the adverse weather conditions, events rather than process oriented, and above all failing short of detailed sectoral trend analysis to a general look, thus limiting the gravity of the matter. Given the lack of specialisation on the matter, communication professionals and journalists, and without proper connection with climate change specialists and information, continue to treat the impact of climate change as mere sporadic natural events that Kenyans have no control over yet the contrary is the case. We need to invest more in problem solving information sharing watchdogging than we are currently doing, and probably invest more in the coverage of climate change than its today.

The rains that have pounded the country over the months and the resultant floods, loss of lives, destruction of properties was not unforeseen.  The weather people were as early as 2018 predicting that Kenya, and by extension the Greater Hon of Africa will experience a longer and wetter than normal rainy season thus Governments in the region were cautioned to invest in preparing to deal with any disasters and risks associated with such seasons. Emergency planning including livestock diseases and feeding, farming and seed planting, storage facilities, emergency medical supplies, and overall disaster management was called for.

Previous experience show that such weather conditions have always resulted in the destruction of bridges and roads thus paralysing the transport sector, floods that destroy human settlements, destruction of health facilities, water sources were contaminated, increased stagnant water ponds, blockage sewers and an increase in fly breeding as a result of decomposing refuse, which increase chances of disease outbreaks. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) Climate Outlook report for the period ending December 2018 season showed increased likelihood of above to near normal rainfall over much of the equatorial sector in the Great Horn of Africa.

The Media Council of Kenya, the Ministry of Forestry (National Climate Change Centre), The University of Nairobi’s Climate Change Centre with the support from FAO and involvement of media associations and civil society are working on a comprehensive training programme for the media, which is expected to assist in focused reporting and information sharing on climate change in the country. This is being implemented under the Green Climate Fund NAP Readiness project that aims at enhancing Kenya’s capacity for planning and effective implementation of climate change adaptation in the country. 

Remember even as we face the devastating effects of climate change, Kenya has been running the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Implementation Framework 2018-2027. Kenya has developed a number of documents to guide it on responding to effects of climate change, including a National Climate Change Response Strategy and National Climate Change Action Plan, and enacting the Climate Change Act 2016, the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act 1999, and development of the National Adaptation Action Plan (2013-17). In addition are sectoral initiatives to address the impact of climate change and strengthen the resilience of communities, as well as the development of policy documents such as the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS 2010).

Kenya developed both the green growth and blue economy national strategies, signed onthe UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and include inthe President’s ‘Big Four’ agenda food security, which is hinged on improved land management, including in urban areas, environmental protection and promotion of the circular economy.In addition to the evictions from forests and demolitions of establishments on water pathways, there is massive tree planting and a host of other activities.