Ol Karia, Kenya 6 October 2020—The Government of Kenya has put in place major policy, legislative and programmatic measures to support the World Habitat Day 2021 theme of accelerating urban action for a carbon free world, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, James Macharia said during the National World Habitat Day celebrations.

“Our urban development policy framework prioritises the development of urban resilience and strategies that are aimed at equipping cities, municipalities and towns to manage the impacts of climate change,” the Minister told the audience attending the event   at the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Geothermal Spa.

“Further, we are revising the building code to include the provisions that promote the use of designs and construction methods that optimize resources, and reduce energy consumption and waste,” he added.

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Geothermal Spa is an offshoot of the Ol Karia renewable energy complex. The Spa showcases direct use applications such as hot/warm water bathing, sauna, steam bathing, cooking, drying of fruits and vegetables, refrigeration, irrigation of crops and fish farming.

This year marked 35 years since the first World Habitat Day celebrations. In  1986 the first Global Observation was held in Nairobi and this year  the Global Observation was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary said the Government was promoting the use of appropriate building materials and green technologies with the aim of enhancing the use of eco-friendly and cost effective building materials that are made from locally available natural resources.

KenGen Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rebecca Miano said her organisation had a robust renewable energy policy and that it was also in the forefront of mitigating climate change. She said KenGen was a member of the UN Global Compact and was committed to doing business under the Compact’s guidelines.

Kenya’s Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat Ambassador, Jean Kimani said Kenya was committed to reducing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent by 2030, in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

“I wish to congratulate UN-Habitat for the recent signing of memorandum of understanding with Nairobi Metropolitan Services on Nairobi River Regeneration Initiative, a joint flagship programme to support biodiversity and reconnect the city to her people. We also wish to thank UN-Habitat and UNEP who in partnership with six coastal counties launched the Go-Blue initiative, a four-year plan aimed at protecting Kenya’s coastal ecosystem while creating environmentally friendly jobs. Other projects by UN-Habitat include waste management project in Kiambu and Kisii and Energy Climate Resilience Development for Poverty Reduction in Narok and Nairobi counties,” she said.

Addressing the meeting virtually, the Director of UN-Habitat’s Global Solutions Division, Raf Tuts, thanked the Government of Kenya and the other stakeholders for organising a successful event. He also read the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s message.

UNEP’s coordinator for Kenya Country Programme Cyrille Sewe explained the interconnection of housing, sustainable development and housing. He saidWorld Habitat Day had grown in stature over the years.

Addressing the meeting, Colombia’s Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat Monica De Greiff Lindo said the climate change fight could only be won by having all people working together while her Tanzanian counterpart John Stephen Simbachawene said Africa was urbanizing very fast and called on African governments to take control of the situation.

In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, the Governor of Nakuru County Lee Kinyanjui listed the various projects his government had embarked on geared towards mitigating the effects of climate change.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko appealed to the developed world countries, which he said are the biggest contributors to climate change, to take responsibility and lead in fighting its effects.

“Kenya places great importance to issues of climate change and it is for this reason that His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta will be leading our delegation to COP26 in Glasgow later this month,” he said.