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Climate Change

Climate change and increasing energy demands are major global challenges at the top of the international agenda. It is also a main concern for the Kenyan and Danish governments and a priority area for the activities of the Embassy of Denmark in Nairobi.

Pumps provide water for both households and irrigation.
Photo: Danida

Kenya like other sub-Saharan African countries faces the uncertainty and potential risks of climate change. The country’s fragile ecosystem will be put under intensive pressure arising from species migration due to habitat destruction and reduction. Already, almost 50% of the country’s key biodiversity warehouse is at risk due to reduced habitat and other human induced pressures. Kenya’s vulnerability to climate change is furthermore affected by relatively weak institutional capacity, low resource management capabilities, inadequate technology and information infrastructure as well as land degradation, which combined pose serious hurdles to effective climate change responses.

Therefore, if not proactively addressed, climate change is anticipated to adversely affect the country’s sustainable development efforts including its ability to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 as well as the objectives set out in the Government’s Vision 2030 development plan. In light of these circumstances, Danida is supporting a number of activities in Kenya aiming at understanding and responding to impacts of climate change.

To better understand the economic impacts of climate change in Kenya, Danida and DfID supported the study ‘the Economics of Climate Change in Kenya’. The study was undertaken by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Oxford working with local partners and addressed the following issues:  

• The impacts and economics costs of climate change;
• The costs of adaptation; and
• The potential for low carbon growth.  

The study clearly showed that existing climate variability has significant economic costs in Kenya and future climate change will lead to additional and potentially very large economic costs. The study advanced a number of approaches to investigate these challenges, using aggregated analysis (top-down), sector assessment (bottom-up) and case studies.

The Kenyan National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) was funded by Danida and Sida in order to put in place robust and thorough adaptation and mitigation measures to minimize risks and maximize opportunities. The NCCRS and its sector or thematic papers furthermore provided an important input to Kenya’s Position Paper related to the COP 15 Meeting in Copenhagen during December 2009.  

The Strategy outlines the evidence of climate change (in terms of rainfall and temperature variations) in Kenya, climate chance impacts on the country, and recommended actions that the country needs to take to reduce these impacts as well as take advantage of the beneficial effects of climate change.  

The recommended actions range from adaptation and mitigation measures in key sectors, to necessary policy, legislative and institutional adjustments, to ways of enhancing climate change awareness education and communication in the country, to necessary capacity development requirements, and to ways of enhancing research and development as well as technology development and transfer in areas that respond to climate change, among many others.

The climate screening of the Danish development cooperation with Kenya is part of the implementation of Denmark’s Climate and Development Action Programme. The purpose of the climate screening is to ‘climate proof’ the Danish development programme with Kenya, i.e. a ‘climate change due diligence’.  

The study integrates risks of climate change and opportunities for adaptation into the development programme instead of standalone ‘climate adaptation / mitigation projects’. The climate proofing differs from environmental impact assessment by addressing the impacts of the environment (due to climate change) on development programme effectiveness. The screening includes three key elements:  

• Assessment of the risks of climate change in achieving the outcomes of the Danida development programmes, i.e. losses due to risks from climate related impacts previously not addressed. 

• Identification of opportunities for reduced vulnerability, i.e. further adaptation to climate change issues in Danish development cooperation.  

• A process action plan for further activities identified in the screening to achieve ‘a climate proofing’ of the Danish development programme. 


- The Economics of Climate Change in Kenya

- The National Climate Change Response Strategy

- Climate Change Screening of Danish Development Cooperation with Kenya