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Waiguru: Effort to protect urban dwellers from adverse effects of climate change by counties bearing fruit

Council of Governors Chairperson and Kirinyaga County Governor Ann Waiguru

Council of Governors (COG) Chair Anne Waiguru says county governments have made significant strides in protecting vulnerable urban populations from adverse affects of climate change.

Waiguru says that counties have developed urban infrastructure, undertaken socio-economic inclusion surveys and plans in an effort to reduce climate vulnerability of the urban poor.

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Further, she said that the devolved units have set up urban governance institutions to strengthen the governance framework to manage urbanization.

Speaking while giving her closing remarks during highlevel event on the operationalization of the Building Climate Resilience of the Urban Poor Initiative (BCRUP) on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Waiguru stressed that efforts to protect the urban dwellers from shocks of climate change are bearing fruit.

She said, so far County Governments have established 97 Cities and Municipalities and prepared urban resilience strategies which will be key in implementing the BRUP initiative in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nakuru.

So far, we have nearly 1 billion people living in informal settlements and therefore building resilience and enhancing the adaptive capacity of the urban poor to recover from shocks and stresses is a major aspect to be integrated into the climate emergency discourses,” she said.

She said that despite the urban poor contributing the least to the causes of climate change, they continue to suffer most and therefore climate adaptation efforts must leave no one behind.

The governor called for a more concerted effort in protecting urban population from climate change shocks and stresses saying building resilience and enhancing their adaptive capacity is a major aspect to be integrated into the climate emergency discourses.

Waiguru who is a member of the National Climate Change Council said without urgent action and much greater ambition in combating adverse effects of climate change, it will get much worse.

I am delighted to note that County Governments have the necessary instruments and are prepared for the full roll out of the BRUP initiative. We welcome all the partners to support the implementation of these plans and strategies in order to fully achieve the objectives of the BRUP initiative,” the governor added.

The BCRUP initiative focuses on the urban poor and other vulnerable populations, whose problems are due to socio economic situations that relate to climate vulnerability with limited or no access to decent shelter, social amenities as well as social support systems.

Despite significant efforts to build resilience, vulnerable groups in urban areas are disproportionately and adversely affected by climate change with a majority living in inadequate housing on floodplains or clinging to slopes, at high risk of the impacts of climate change such as flooding, landslides and extreme heat. 

The focus of the BCRUP initiative is to build resilience and enhance the adaptive capacity of the urban poor against adverse climate change effects and disasters.

The governor lauded the Affordable Housing Programme by the Kenya Kwanza administration as a visionary and timely initiative whose main aim is to eliminate informal settlements, provide essential amenities and create employment for youth.

On behalf of the Council, we wish to thank the state department of housing and urban development and all the partners who have been part of this initiative and assure you that the County Governments through the Council will take a leadership role in the implementation of the initiative,” Waiguru said.

Rising global temperatures causes sea levels to rise, increases the number of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms, and increases the spread of tropical diseases. All of these negatively affects cities’ and urban areas’ basic services, infrastructure, housing, human livelihoods and health.

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