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President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to join other world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland today for the United Nations Climate talks hosted by the United Kingdom whose aim is to take collective action to tackle climate change.

The Head of State, who is accompanied by senior government officials including cabinet secretaries who will be attending various themed meetings at the conference, is expected to address world leaders as well as meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott, who welcomed Uhuru to Glasgow said Kenya has been in the forefront to tackle climate change.

“The stakes over the next two weeks have never been higher. Kenya as a leader on tackling climate change is also one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to its effects.

The UK welcomes President Kenyatta to Glasgow as we work together to negotiate a fair inclusive deal to save the planet,” she said.

In today’s session which is the first day of the talks, Uhuru is expected to speak at the Leaders Summit where he will set out the ambitious actions Kenya is taking to tackle climate change and showcase Kenya as a leader on climate action in the region. 

Kenya leading

Despite bearing almost none of the historic responsibility, Kenya is leading the way in tackling climate change in the region being the first African country to pass a Climate Change Act (in 2016) as well as running on 90 per cent renewable power, with a target of hitting 100 per cent by 2030.

Tomorrow, Uhuru and other leaders are expected to attend a high-level event on innovation that will be hosted by Johnson. 

In the meeting, world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who has been at the forefront of conservation and restoration of forests, adopting 50 hectares of land in Kaptagat forest, which received part of Sh550 million worth of UK funding to support Kenya’s climate transition is expected to join Uhuru to press for action to halt and reverse forest loss. 

 Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, who is expected to give a keynote speech on Adaptation Day and Science and Innovation Day as well as together with Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo and Kipchoge will attend an event by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Nature Based Solutions on Wednesday expressed confidence that the conference will come out with better ways of dealing with climate change. 

“COP26 is a make or break for humanity and the planet. The time to take action is now. We hope that this conference will see pledges honoured to enable adaptation, especially on the African continent. COP26 must produce concrete results.

Last November, UK and Kenya launched a joint Year of Climate Action to drive forward the Kenya-UK Strategic Partnership agreed in 2020 by Uhuru and  Johnson. 

In the last three years, the UK government has spent Sh22 billion on climate change-related activities in Kenya including working with Kenya to adapt and manage the worst effects of climate change and create jobs in a green and sustainable way. 

Apart from the address by the president, Cabinet Secretaries Ukur Yattani(National Treasury), Monica Juma (Energy), Tobiko and Elizabeth Wathuti a youth representative are expected to address the conference on various themes.

In particular Yattani is on Wednesday expected to give a keynote speech at Finance Day, where climate finance best practices will be highlighted especially now that Kenya has been an African pioneer in Green Bonds, with UK supporting both the establishment of a regulatory framework and the launch of Kenya’s first Green Bond, which was dual, listed in Nairobi and London exchanges  in January 2020 at the UK Africa Investment Summit. By Mercy Mwai, People Daily

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