On 26 January, the Climate Parliament and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) co-hosted a national virtual parliamentary roundtable for Kenya to discuss the transition to renewable energy and to connect Kenyan parliamentarians with world-leading experts in renewable energy.
Ms. Kawira Bucyana, Ms. Linet Luvai, and Mr. Zacharia Munga from the UNIDO office in Kenya gave presentations on UNIDO’s development work in Kenya and experts in renewable energy from UCL, UNIDO, the University of Cambridge and the University of Loughborough also contributed.
Ms. Luvai outlined how UNIDO’s current portfolio in Kenya focuses on building trade capacities, cleaner energy production and promoting investment and digitalisation. She explained how UNIDO provides technical capacity to support development projects, including advice, capacity building, policy as well as convening support. Ms. Luvai detailed the Kenya Self-Starter Programme for Country Partnership, which was recently launched by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya and the UNIDO Director General LI Yong.
The programme is an innovative model founded on a multi-stakeholder approach. It focuses on supporting research and policy; agricultural processing; textiles and leather; ICT and digitalisation; industrial zones; trade promotion; and quality infrastructure; green industry; and the blue economy to drive industrial recovery and growth in the country.
Dr. Sergio Missana, Executive Director of the Climate Parliament, presented a series of action ideas that Kenyan parliamentarians might present to their parliaments to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. He outlined some best practices on large-scale renewable energy, green grids, sustainable transport, rural electrification and energy efficiency in buildings.
The discussion that followed included high-level interventions from Kenyan parliamentarians, who are already admirably engaged in environmental issues.
A key theme that emerged was that while the legislative framework in Kenya invites the implementation of projects in renewable energy, more foreign direct investment and further capacity-building is needed in order to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
Some parliamentarians highlighted that the effects of climate change are already visible within Kenya, stressing especially the issues of the aridity and arability of land. ‘Clean cooking’ emerged as a crucial area in need of attention and rural electrification arose as a high-priority for parliamentarians. Legislators also asked if Climate Parliament could share best practices with them in order to broaden their knowledge of mini-grids.
Parliamentarians agreed to convene as a group in order to advocate for these issues within their houses of parliament.
Nicholas Dunlop, Secretary General for the Climate Parliament, concluded by complimenting Kenyan parliamentarians on their engagement and broad knowledge in environmental issues.
He suggested that the formation of a Climate Parliament group in Kenya could help connect like-minded MPs and amplify their voices within the Kenyan houses of parliament.
Such a group could convene on environmental matters within parliament as a unit and offer support to each other in pushing for ambitious change.
Representatives from the Climate Parliament put parliamentarians in contact with relevant experts in attendance at the roundtable, so that they could discuss renewable energy issues in greater detail.
The event was supported by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) and co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).