LCOY Kenya 2021

LCOYKe 2021 took place in the city of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Kenya is located within Eastern Africa, which experiences a largely tropical climate, although high elevations scattered across the region tend to lower average temperatures within those localities.

Precipitation varies greatly across the region whereby Somalia, Eastern Ethiopia and North-Eastern Kenyan tend to receive little rainfall while Western Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda receive far more rainfall. The region features vegetation that ranges from thornbushes in semiarid areas to grasslands and woodlands in wetter regions. The grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania are famed for their wildlife, especially predators such as ​ lions, hyenas and leopards, and large migratory herds of ungulates such as gazelles, gnus, and zebras. Nairobi is actually the only city in the world to host a national park within its borders, a factor that made this a fitting location to host LCOY in. The effects of climate change have been intimately felt across various parts of Kenya over the past decade, particularly within the past 5 years. One of the primary ways in which climate change manifests is through erratic weather patterns — extended drought countered by record precipitation, resulting in unprecedented floods. Counties within the semi-arid regions of Kenya such as Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Moyale among others have faced extended periods of droughts within the past decade. Contrariwise, the same counties, as well as counties from other regions of Kenya, have experienced issues with record floods due to heavy rainfall that falls over a short period of time. Kenya has also seen the rise of waters on the Rift Valley Lakes, such as Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo, and Lake Nakuru, which have risen to their highest levels in decades (Government of Kenya & UNDP, 2021). Increased rainfall and subsequent run-off also led to a rise in the levels of Lake Victoria, where it reached a record level of 13.42 meters, surpassing the mark recorded in 1964 (ArcGIS, 2020). With regard to tree cover, in 2020 alone, Kenya lost over 17kha of natural forest, equivalent to 7.68MT of carbon dioxide emissions. In the two decades leading up to 2021, Kenya lost 361kha of tree cover, equivalent to 176Mt of carbon dioxide emissions (Global Forest Watch, 2021). In response to this trend, the 2020 constitution mandated a 10% minimum forest cover, which the current government is trying to meet via the National Forest Programme, 2016 – 2030 (Kenya Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, 2016). Other than this, political actors within the Kenyan space are not yet keen on climate change and sustainability issues, meaning that hardly any top politician and governance official includes such topics as top agendas in their manifestos, campaigns, and public engagements.

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