NAIROBI – Kenya on Friday urged East African governments to allocate additional resources to boost mitigation of drought that has become a recurrent phenomenon due to climate change.
Eugene Wamalwa, cabinet secretary for Devolution, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) said that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states must start seeing drought as risks that must be contained.
“Let us re-commit to implement country program plans to help the community live normal lives and benefit from the natural resources,” said Wamalwa while opening IGAD drought resilience general assembly in Nairobi.
He said countries in the region must allocate budgets and also develop policies and guidelines to ensure that drought emergencies are no longer a threat.
“We must look at drought as occurrence of minimal consequence that we are fully equipped to manage locally without external assistance,” said Wamalwa.
He proposed effective coordination from grassroots, national and regional levels in ending drought emergencies.
Wamalwa said that Kenya’s ability to manage drought has improved in the last decade thanks to enactment of robust policy interventions.
He observed that although the 2016/2017 drought was more severe compared to that of 2010/2011, its impact was much lower, with livestock losses being estimated at 0-30 percent compared to 60-70 percent in 2010/2011.
“We have prioritized ending drought emergencies in our third medium term plan 2018/2022 and in the county integrated development plans for the same period,” said Wamalwa.
Mahboub Maalim, executive secretary of IGAD said that arid lands can be turned into productive areas since they contain 90 percent of livestock in the region.
He said that fatalities linked to droughts have reduced considerably due to the interventions that governments have put in place in the region.
“We do not have sad stories when drought hits us anymore courtesy of operational policies guarding vulnerability,” said Maalim.
He attributed climate change and economic shocks that lead to the devaluation of currencies as the leading cause of conflicts in the region.
He said that commitment and joint coordination of projects have led to success and still holds key to changing the lives of the population’s within the region.