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Proceedings of the workshop on
Dialogue with East African legislators on climate change and sustainable development issues

23-24 April 2004, Nairobi Safari Park Hotel, Kenya

Rapporteurs: Ms Betty Rabar, Ms Rose Antipa, Edited by: Ms Grace Akumu

Posted with permission of Ms Grace Akumu of Climate Network Africa. Ms Akumu can be contacted at:
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Executive summary

Economic obligations on industrialized countries to ensure fair trade and reduction of Least Developed Countries’ (LDC) debt burden as well as environmental measures to control pollutants and ensure more equitable and appropriate use of natural resources were the subject of the workshop organized by Climate Network Africa entitled “Dialogue with East African Legislators on Climate Change and Sustainable Development” held at the Safari Park Hotel on 23rd and 24th April 2004.

GHG emissions have so far been closely correlated with economic performance. To date, the growth of economies and emissions has occurred mostly in the industrialized countries. “Emissions is wealth”, has been the thinking of many. The workshop discussed the impacts of these emissions and what actions the legislators in East African region should take. A number of recommendations were made.

The workshop sought to galvanize urgent international support and action for the concept of Contraction and Convergence policy framework proposed to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change by the Global Commons Institute (GCI) since 1990. The African Group of Nations had proposed during the UNFCCC – COP 3 that a “globally agreed ceiling of GHG emissions can only be achieved by adopting the principle of per capita emissions rights that fully take into account the reality of population growth and the principle of differentiation”. The way forward for East African legislators was envisaged as calling for the UNFCCC secretariat to study, evaluate and assess the concept of Contraction and Convergence, and at the same time set the stage for building a global community to support the concept as it added value to the Kyoto Protocol and also encompassed the major principles in the Climate Change Convention such as the Precautionary principle, Polluter Pay principle and the Equity principle.

Out of the workshop emerged:
  • the need to work at being committed East Africans and to work on the barriers that tend to prevent this;
  • build the capacity of the legislators on environmental matters, this will enhance debate in the house which will add value to environmental policy formulation and development of legislation;
  • link science and research to parliamentarians;
  • lastly repackage environmental information appropriately for different interest groups.
It was not an easy workshop to put together. The discussions did not necessarily focus on climate change. One felt that the Members of Parliament had yearned for such a forum, and therefore took advantage of the occasion to discuss other problems facing the East African region. The organizers did not deny them this heartfelt need to network.

However, as ably put by one resource person, “all things happen in the context of climate”. All the subjects discussed were therefore relevant to the workshop’s intentions: a dialogue with East African legislators. Kenya Government committed to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol within three months from the date of the workshop (by end of August 2004). Countries that had not established Designated National Authorities said that they would do so as a matter of urgency, thus facilitating project implementation under Kyoto mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Other topics discussed at the workshop are diligently recorded in this document and will be disseminated widely.

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