Climate Change: Impacts and Mitigation Strategies to Ensure Sustainable Agriculture

The African Climate Summit also provides an excellent opportunity to highlight nature conservation and wildlife protection as critical tools for combating climate change.

Climate Change: Impacts and Mitigation Strategies to Ensure Sustainable Agriculture

Kenya is taking the lead in mobilising climate action in Africa and beyond. Last month, leaders from IFAW’s climate and Africa programmes met with Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry to discuss the upcoming African Climate Summit and Kenya’s innovative plans to conserve and protect wildlife as valuable natural capital in the fight against climate change.

The IFAW team was hosted by Principal Secretary Eng. Festus K. Ng’eno in the Ministry’s Nairobi office, which is currently preparing to host the African Climate Summit, which will take place this September during Africa Climate Week. Both are important events in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai this November.

The African Climate Summit takes place at a critical juncture in history. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) synthesis report, the world is not on track to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.50 degrees Celsius this century.

The consequences will be severe if effective action is not taken immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support climate adaptation, and address loss and damage.

This is especially true for the world’s LDCs, the majority of which are in Africa. These countries are at the forefront of the climate crisis.Across the continent, communities, ecosystems, and wildlife suffer devastating consequences from rising temperatures and variable rainfall.

For instance, over the past six years Kenya has experienced an unprecedented drought, that has killed thousands of animals and left millions of people in need of humanitarian relief. Meanwhile, Malawi and Mozambique struggle to recover from the devastation wrought by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

The African Climate Summit provides Kenya with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead African countries in highlighting these and other climate impacts, as well as demonstrating how those countries are designing and implementing innovative solutions that can serve as a model for the rest of the world.

Kenya’s County Climate Change Fund is one such solution, delivering local climate finance directly to communities so they can implement their own climate adaptation plans.

The African Climate Summit also provides an excellent opportunity to highlight nature conservation and wildlife protection as critical tools for combating climate change.

Agriculture, forestry, and land use changes that threaten endangered wildlife and critical ecosystems, such as deforestation, industrial development, and urbanisation, contribute up to 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the IPCC.

The good news is that protecting, restoring, and effectively managing wildlife habitats and critical ecosystems are among the most effective and cost-effective ways to combat climate change. Indeed, according to the IPCC, such “nature-based solutions” are among the top five most effective strategies for achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Stopping biodiversity loss and accelerating the implementation of these types of solutions must thus be a top priority in the global effort to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.

The IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative is a good example of how this works in practise. IFAW is collaborating with Kenyan partners, including the Kenya Wildlife Service, to address climate change on multiple fronts by connecting elephant habitats in and around Kenya’s Amboseli Tsavo ecosystem.

Carbon reduction: IFAW protects and increases the amount of carbon stored in the landscape by conserving, linking, and restoring elephant habitats, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by preventing deforestation and other land use changes.

Wildlife protection: Wildlife populations become more resilient to climate change by increasing the connectivity of elephant habitats, allowing them to access food and water even during dry seasons and drought periods.

Community resilience: Community members who live and work alongside wildlife become more resilient to droughts and can adapt more easily to the challenges posed by climate change if they are assisted in adopting new livelihoods and learning new skills.

Africa, as a continent, is home to some of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, ranging from the savannas of Kenya to the mountains of Uganda and Rwanda, as well as the tropical rainforests of the Congo and Gabon.

As a result, it has the potential to be a world leader in delivering nature-based climate action by protecting, restoring, and effectively managing wildlife and biodiversity.

Building on the landmark Convention on Biological Diversity agreement to secure 30% of the world’s terrestrial and marine habitats by 2030, Kenya can use the African Climate Summit to highlight Africa’s unique natural heritage and call for a dramatic increase in the amount of international finance invested in nature-based climate solutions.