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The 21st Conference of Parties and the African Centre for Technology Studies- Side Event on November 30th, 2015 “Tackling Climate Change through Data and Community Based Adaptation: Pioneering climate Legislation and Data Policy in Kenya”

On Monday, November 30th nearly 150 heads of states gathered in Paris for the opening of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The global community is gathered in Paris for the next two weeks to finalize negotiations on a long-awaited climate deal, which would enter into effect in 2020, as the successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was among the leaders who spoke at the opening plenary, called for the international community to join together to sign a strong international agreement, which would keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. President Kenyatta also called upon developed countries, “to provide additional, predictable and sustainable support in terms of finance, technology and capacity building to meet the adaptation and mitigation needs of the developing-country parties.” President Kenyatta went on to say that nations must ensure that an agreement, “provide(s) parity between mitigation, adaptation and provisions for enhancing means of implementation, noting the increased burden for adaptation in developing countries.”

Noting that, “climate change hurts Kenya’s development.” President Kenyatta outlined the steps that Kenya has taken to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, including Kenya’s robust climate action pledge- also known as the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and key investments that are being made in solar, wind and geothermal renewable energy.

After President Kenyatta’s speech, the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) held a side event in the Africa Pavilion entitled, “Tackling Climate Change through Data and Community Based Adaptation: Pioneering climate Legislation and Data Policy in Kenya.” The event hosted by ACTS, the Government of Kenya and the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition reiterated many of the key points made by President Kenyatta in his speech.

Opening the event, Dr. Cosmas Ochieng, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies moderated the event and began by praising the Government of Kenya for the formulation of the Kenya Climate Change Bill, through what he called one of the most innovative in Africa. 

Mr. Jonah Osore, of the Office of the Deputy President, outlined the ambitious goals set out in the Kenya Climate Change Bill, currently before the Senate. Mr. Osore stated that the Bill is, “one of the most innovative and inclusive pieces of legislation that the country has embarked upon.” Climate change, he went on to state, is not only an environmental issue, but has become a political, economic and social issue that must be addressed at the grassroots level. The Bill has set ambitious targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation, establishes an executive level coordination group, and has clear monitoring mechanisms to ensure targets are met. He went on to explain that data will play an important role in helping to inform implementation strategies and monitoring of the Bill itself. Assistance in this data component, will come from Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) and from ACTS, who serves as the co-chair of the Climate Change Pillar of the Kenya National Data Partnership.

Mr. Martin Parr, of the GODAN then gave a presentation on the need for open data to help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change. Through providing real time meteorological data to farmers, they can more easily adapt to changes brought by climate change such as changes in rainfall and increased temperature. Yet, for this to happen, this meteorological data needs to be made open and new products and services need to be developed to help bring and translate this data into a usable format for small-scale farmers. Mr. Parr said that through providing this open data real impacts can be made in improving food security and adaptive capacities. Kenya, he noted, has a real reediness for open data, and stands as a data leader on the continent.

Dr. Ochieng, building upon the comments of Mr. Osore and Mr. Parr, focused on the need to have increased adaptation measures to help local communities, often the most adversely affected, adapt to the effects of climate change. Noting ACTS’ extensive expertise in the area of community-based adaptation, he discussed the importance of working with local communities to develop locally-led adaptation solutions. He also reiterated Mr. Parr’s sentiments by stating that, “technology is a way through which (we can) address the climate crisis.”

Dr. Ochieng then turned his discussion toward the Kenya Climate Change Bill, which he applauded as being an innovative Bill and congratulated the government for the inclusive nature through which the Bill was formed. Noting, the Kenya Climate Science Roundtables, convened by ACTS, Dr. Ochieng discussed the consultative process through which the government sought inputs from civil society, academia, and the private sector. Mr. Ochieng said that now the challenge lies in, “domesticating the Kenya Climate Change Bill” saying that the “counties and local communities are key to implementing the bill.” Thus, there is need to work with local communities to find solutions and technologies to help them domesticate the legislation.

The event ended with the pre-launch of a new book to be published by ACTS Press entitled “Enhancing Effectiveness of Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change: unlocking some nuts and bolts.” The book to be published in January, builds upon the deliberations from the 9th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in April 2015. The book will highlight strategic pathways to enhancing effectiveness of adaptation and how to measure impacts of adaptation. The book project has been supported by the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC).

ACTS will be holding several other side events during the duration of COP 21, highlights of each which will be sent out. For more information on the ACTS, our side events, or to interview one of our researchers at COP 21 please contact Natasha Frosina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For information on ACTS’ upcoming side events at COP 21 please click here