CGIAR Research Initiative on Livestock and Climate contributing to government stocktaking on climate change and livestock

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    CGIAR Initiative on Livestock and Climate
  • Published on
    14.12.23
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Kenya has made significant progress in implementing climate adaptation and mitigation policies. However, there remains a multitude of opportunities that can be leveraged in the livestock sector. To bridge this gap, a stocktaking workshop on climate change policies relevant for climate action in the livestock sector was held in Naivasha, Kenya from 9 – 10 May 2023. The event, organized by FAO, brought together key stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, International Livestock Research Institute, among others. As a contribution to the CGIAR Initiative on Livestock and Climate, Lucy Njuguna, then Graduate Fellow at the Sustainable Livestock Systems Program, participated in the workshop.   

The Livestock and Climate Initiative aims to inform the design and implementation of policies to support actions related to livestock and climate. It is essential to participate in forums where scientific research can be shared with policymakers, enabling the translation of research into action.  

During the opening remarks, a representative from the Kenya Climate Change Directorate, housed in Kenya Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, highlighted the need to recognize the climate change mitigation opportunities within the livestock sector. He emphasized the government’s commitment to aligning development efforts with low-carbon pathways and utilizing available resources, including the work of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, to support the National Determined Contributions (NDCs). Furthermore, he encouraged stakeholders in the livestock sector to actively engage in the ongoing review of the Climate Change Act to ensure its alignment with emerging trends and opportunities.  

The Role of Livestock in Climate Action 

The State Department for Livestock Development (SDLD) representative, Ms Halima Nenkari, pointed out that Kenya’s livestock sector is lagging behind other sectors in addressing climate change. The livestock sector is vital both for livelihoods and as a source of emissions. As such, it was noted that improving productivity of livestock systems can substantially help reduce GHG emissions. This necessitates collaboration between the national government, whose role involves enhancing technical capacity, policy development, and information sharing, and county governments, which are better positioned to support the development of livestock value chains. 

Presentations during the workshop included an overview of the livestock sub-sector in Kenya’s NDC, emphasizing the sector’s potential contribution to national emissions reduction. Challenges, such as weak institutional capacity, limited technical capabilities, and data gaps, were identified. Opportunities were also highlighted, including the potential to realign Kenya’s development model to be climate-resilient, adopting a people-centered approach, and accessing new sources of climate finance. 

Discussions focused on initiatives to build county-level capacity for data collection and dissemination, involving local administration. Challenges such as technological limitations were acknowledged, but there was progress in training county commissioners and enumerators. It was emphasized that regular data collection is essential to capture rapid changes in the livestock sector.  

A major proportion of the workshop entailed group discussions to take stock of existing policies relevant for the various livestock value chains. The discussions also highlighted opportunities and gaps in those policies. Key issues that came up included the need to incorporate broader sectors such as apiculture in policies, better coordination for coherent implementation, and the strengthening of data systems to support timely climate action.   

 Moving Forward 

The Stocktaking Workshop concluded with a call for the formation of a working group to synthesize input from participants and to prepare a report that will inform policy discussions. The Livestock and Climate Initiative will continue to work with the Government of Kenya on these issues in 2024.  

Header image: Pastoralists in Kenya. Photo by K.Dhanji/ILRI. 

Story by Madison Spinelli and Lucy Njuguna.

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