•Tuwei said climate change and air quality are some of the most urgent and important challenges, not only for the world but also for athletics.
•In a plenary session titled 'Accelerating climate and Air Quality measures through Athletics', Tuwei said AK was proud to join the global effort in dealing with climate change.
Athletics Kenya will work closely with the government to tackle the negative effects of climate change, the national governing body's president Jack Tuwei has said.
Tuwei made the remarks on Friday during a side event organised by AK at the United Nations Action Hub in Sharm El-sheikh, Egypt where the 2022 Climate Change Conference (COP27) is taking place.
Several world leaders have gathered in the north African nation to discuss important issues affecting the climate.
In a plenary session titled 'Accelerating climate and Air Quality measures through Athletics', Tuwei said AK was proud to join the global effort in dealing with climate change.
“Climate change is a serious threat to sports as already witnessed during the recent global athletics competitions. We cannot sit back and wait,” Tuwei said.
Tuwei said climate change and air quality are some of the most urgent and important challenges, not only for the world but also for athletics.
"There are several ways to address these issues including working with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on green spaces in Nairobi and across the country."
He said they have been encouraging athletes to plant trees in all activities organized by AK.
"We collaborate with international organizations such as UNEP and the Stockholm Environment Institute in joint activities that include monitoring Air Quality in sports facilities, and improving waste management."
Tuwei said AK has installed several air quality sensors in five athletic centres in Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, and Kapsabet.
“We have also commenced the transfer of the same initiatives to other African countries including a stadium in Dakar, Senegal.”
Tuwei said they conducted the first monitoring of air quality during the Nairobi city marathon held on May 8.
AK, he said, has incorporated the support of renowned athletes to champion the Climate Action Agenda.
"We have two-time Olympic and 800m world champion, David Rudisha, marathon world record holder and two-time Olympic marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge who was in Glasgow during COP26."
Tuwei said Kipchoge has adopted a forest in Kaptagat in Kenya.
"Two-time Olympic and world 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, former world women's marathon holder, Tegla Lourupe and other athletic stars are also leading the way by adding their voices to the Climate Action agenda," he added.
Tuwei said athletes cannot perform at their best and some suffer after events due to extreme heat.
Speaking at the event, Environment Minister Soipan Tuya supported President William Ruto's call for the country to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.
“Back home, we are pushing to have every ministry within the government formation have a climate action plan. Part of our plan is to plant 15 billion trees by 2030,” Soipan said.
“We must put a concerted common effort to combat the crisis that is facing us. As the minister for the environment, I want us to increase our collaboration with Athletics Kenya.”
In a speech read on his behalf by Minister Soipan, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba commended AK for taking measures to protect the climate.
“Athletics Kenya is taking a leading role in the world of sports through commitments to reduce 50 percent of its emissions by 2030 and reach a net zero by 2040,” Namwamba said.
“Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our morals and historical responsibilities,” he added.
Namwamba said the time had come to propel climate action beyond historical commitments.
“The world needs to move with speed from words to action. The time to act is now. Now more than ever, the interlinkage between sport and climate change is evident,” Namwamba said.