The KEPSA Environment Water and Natural Resources Sector Board held its meeting virtually on 5th November 2020. The meeting reviewed the progress made in the year on the regulatory framework, green and circular economy, sustainable inclusive business, water and sanitation and forestry.
In her opening remarks, the sector board Chair, Ms. Emily Waita said that despite the COVID-19 challenge, the sector board had played a key role in ensuring that environmental matters remained at the fore of key decision-making. In particular, the sector board was able to successfully voice the significance of waste management as an essential service that led to it being included as an essential sector by the government. The sector also proposed the recycling protocols that were included by the government as part of the ‘Guidelines for Business Operations during COVID-19’. The single-use action plan for affecting the ban of single-use plastics in protected areas has been finalized with KEPSA input.
In addition, the sector board had held several engagements with the government. This included Engagement with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary on 3rd August 2020, which engagement focused on Pollution control and solid waste management, climate change, Green Growth and Circular Economy; engagement with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Department of Environment on Water and Sanitation on Areas on 25th August 2020; KEPSA has been in the forefront offering technical support in the development of the Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations and collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had undertaken sectorial private sector consultations on the 2nd Draft of the extended Producer Responsibility Regulations. The Health sector consultations’ took place on 6th October 2020, Environment, Agriculture and Tourism took place on 7th October 2020, Electrical and Electronic Equipment consultation took place on 7th October 2020, Industry and Trade consultation took place on, 8th October 2020. Engagement with the International experts meeting took place on 19th October 2020. The sector board had also reviewed the proposed USA-FTA with an environmental lens and had presented its position.
Members further discussed the contribution of the private sector to climate change. It was observed that apart from the development of policy and legal instruments for climate change, the private sector has not yet unpacked its contribution to climate change targets. The first year report of the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018 – 2022 revealed very low private sector participation in the implementation of the prioritized climate actions. There is a need for a deliberate effort by the private sector to contribute to the realization of Kenya’s nationally determined contribution as expounded in the various action plans and government strategies. Some of the challenges cited by members included low awareness of the prioritized climate actions, lack of clear plans to guide the private sector and lack of technical capacity in reporting frameworks. It is important to develop evidence of a business case for climate change to drive the development of products and services by the private sector that enhances emission reduction.
The endorsement and Operationalization of the Climate Business Information Network Kenya was done on 10th September 2020 by a multi-stakeholder group of the private sector, government, and development partners. This paved way for the implementation of sensitization and capacity building of the private sector on climate change adaptation. Since then, the Climate Business Information Network – Kenya had started playing a key role in sensitization and awareness creation for the private sector on strategies for mainstreaming climate change in business models. This platform will go a long way in linking the private sector and government for a collaborative approach in the implementation and reporting of climate actions.
The meeting also discussed progress made in the green and circular economy by the Sustainable Inclusive Business Project. The team had organized a successful Virtual conference on the Circular Economy that expounded on the European Green Deal and a lot of sectorial interest in the circular economy. The team had also organized training of over 100 waste collectors in Mombasa and had organized several forums for increasing awareness on the circular economy. KEPSA had finalized the ‘Greening ‘ of the Third National Business Agenda that mainstreams sustainable development, green and circular economy and promotes sustainable consumption and production.
Under Forestry, the sector board has participated in the development of forest policy and was part of the multiagency team working with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in the development of a Programme for tree planting challenge in Kenya. The sector board will continue to engage and to ensure that the environmental sustainability agenda is mainstreamed in key decisions platforms and business models going forward.