On the morning of November 3rd, 2020, I was honoured to be part of the launch of the Year of Climate Action in Kenya (#YoCaKenya) at Karura Forest, alongside UK Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya Julius Court; Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Dr. Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya; Wyckliffe Shamiah, CEO of the Capital Markets Authority; and Wanjira Maathai of the World Resources Institute, among others.
The speeches at the launch were inspiring, hopeful and at the same time realistic about the scale of this environmental challenge. The UK delegation reaffirmed their commitment to the Kenya-UK strategic partnership and the climate action plan announcing an exciting package of new support during this Year of Climate Action. Wanjira Maathai reminded us all of Kenya’s legacy in climate action and the importance of involving women and youth as we look to nature for solutions. PS Kiptoo emphasised that climate action must underpin sustainable development and post COIVD-19 green recovery plans to build back better by embedding climate commitments into recovery packages that are nature focused. Governor Njoroge provided an impressive overview of the climate actions already taken by Kenyan Financial Sector ranging from the launch of the Green Bond in January in both Nairobi and London to the Kenya Banker’s Association’s Sustainable Finance Initiative to his closing remarks on the importance of implementing climate-related financial disclosures in Kenya.
As part of the #YoCaKenya launch, we at FSD Kenya are pleased to announce a partnership with Kenyan regulators including the Capital Markets Authority and the Retirement Benefits Authority to provide a training and capacity building programme to implement and adapt the recommendations from the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) for Kenya. This programme will cover, amongst other things, the benefits of reporting including how climate ratings are being used by institutions to make investment decisions; how to embed climate action into financial management; an overview into the management of financial risks arising from climate change; examples of TCFD reporting; as well as practical tools and technical expertise for policymakers aimed at making climate disclosure mainstream.
We also applaud the efforts of our sister organisation, FSD Africa, which have been deeply engaged in the Green Bonds. FSD Africa will fund a first-of-its kind climate finance training programme in sub-Saharan Africa in a bid to accelerate access to urgently needed climate investments in the region. FSD Africa CEO Mark Napier and I were pleased to be at the launch and pleased to be working in concert to support leadership from Kenya and across Africa on climate finance.
Although we announced our intention to ramp up Climate finance activities earlier this year, our work has always had intersections with climate-related work. For example, the introduction of index-based weather insurance in Kenya in partnership with the World Bank which helped to inform the Kenya National Agriculture Insurance Program me including satellite-based livestock insurance and area yield index insurance for crops. Building on this work, FSD Kenya has supported several studies, regulations and policies related to climate-related insurance as well bundled solutions of insurance with credit and savings in smart agriculture financial solutions such as DigiFarm. We have also worked with Pay-as-you-go solar solutions such as M-Kopa and most recently solar irrigation financial solutions with SunCulture.
As we look to the future of FSD Kenya’s work in climate finance, we look forward to supporting Kenyan regulators to implement climate-related reporting and working withthe private sector, especially the financial sector, in Green Climate Fund (GCF) accreditation and financing to be able to access GCF resources for blending with their own resources and on-lending to low-income consumers involved in green projects. We are also keen to explore innovative green technologies and business models (in collaboration with innovation hubs and funds such as the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre); and partner with Counties to mainstream climate change and climate finance through community engagement, developing policies and regulations while supporting green projects such as afforestation and green energy targeting low-income households.
Karura Forest is not only one of my favourite places in Nairobi but it is also a perfect place to launch #YoCaKenya because it is a testament to Kenya’s journey on climate action. It only exists today because it was protected by Kenyans with leadership from Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai when lawless developers sought to grab some of this land. It was even more meaningful to have this important call to action launched near the shade of the trees planted at Amani Garden, in memory of those we lost at Westgate seven years ago, including our beloved colleague Ravi Ramrattan.
Tamara Cook is CEO of FSD Kenya. Twitter: @TamaraBCook @FSDKe