Over 700 stakeholders have converged at Kenyatta University on Monday, August 30 for the launching of the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice. This will be the first school program of this kind in Kenya’s history.
The event will last two weeks, ending on September 12. Participants are expected to have lectures, discussions, breakout activities and exhibitions at the Conference Centre of KU in the stipulated time.
The new institution is expected to be instrumental as an enabler of lower greenhouse effects and sustainable economic inclusivity.
As young and innovative students are selected for admission to its pilot programme, more stakeholders from across the globe will join online via Zoom and other platforms.
The school will address the poor representation of the larger African continent in matters of climate justice.
According to the coordinators, voices of grassroots communities have been stifled and forced to fit the climate context tailored for the Western world.
However, this is expected to change as the institution will be anchored on a trans-disciplinary curriculum for climate justice in the global south.
It will conduct business in a hybrid format with both virtual and physical attendance.
According to the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the long-term objective of the Summer School is to promote creative voices and scientific innovations to tackle global environmental concerns from the smallest groupings of society.
“While Kenya is aware of its responsibility to her citizens and has decided to pursue industrialization, the government is however aware of her responsibility to climate justice,” noted Pacifica Ogola, the director of climate change at the Ministry of Environment.
While speaking at the event on August 30, she acknowledged the country’s awareness of the benefits of industrialisation.
However, she emphasized that keeping carbon emissions at a minimum without job provision and development was possible.
“Climate justice is such a critical issue in international climate change dialogues, yet the Africans at the frontline of climate change and who suffer from the most severe forms of climate injustices are often left out of the conversation,” stated Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director of PACJA.
In January 2021, while speaking at the Climate Adaptation Summit, President Uhuru Kenyatta affirmed Kenya’s commitment to implementing global climate change adaptation initiatives.
“Kenya is already experiencing the multi-fold climate impacts, including erratic rainfall, droughts and increased temperatures. To contain this situation, we have scaled up our adaptation efforts; mainstreaming it into our national development strategy,” President Uhuru Kenyatta urged.
Nonetheless, he pointed out that the economic interests of Kenyans, more so farmers, would have to be guarded.
President Kenyatta stated that farmers would have to be provided with the tools, information and finances to embrace agricultural practices that protect the climate.