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Kenya hopes to become Africa's carbon trade hub

The retreating glaciers on Mount Kenya may be a sign of climate change. The government has allocated US$721 million to conservation. Photo: Flickr/Kalense Kid.

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[NAIROBI] Kenya has announced plans to establish a regional carbon emissions trading scheme to steer Africa's carbon market.

This would hopefully position the country as the continent's carbon credit trade hub, finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta said in his budget speech to parliament earlier this month (10 June).

Kenyatta said a framework for carbon trading — in which polluters buy and sell the right to emit carbon — would be set up to outline how to register to participate in the scheme, how revenue would be shared and how to ensure accountability.

The framework would also describe development areas to be funded by the resources generated from the scheme.

 

Kenyatta said a carbon credit investment framework would help streamline conservation efforts and alleviate poverty in the country, saying it had the potential to attract billions of Kenyan shillings annually.

The government also allocated 58 billion Kenyan shillings (US$721 million) for environmental conservation in the 2010/11 financial year — a more than 50 per cent rise from the previous year's US$473 million.

Out of this, US$640 million will go to the environment, water and sanitation sectors, in efforts aimed at reversing what many see as Kenya's battered biodiversity systems.

"Efforts must be made through comprehensive environmental conservation to forestall the adverse effects of climate change in order to reverse damages to our scarce arable land, water and biodiversity resources," Kenyatta told parliament.

"The government recognises that the restoration of ecosystems provides the key to reducing poverty, creating employment and improving food security."

Fredrick Njau, of the Nairobi-based Green Belt Movement, told SciDev.Net he believed the trading scheme would improve the livelihoods of communities by generating money in exchange for trees planted.

"This is the first time in the past 30 years that communities are set to benefit from planting trees in this country," he said.

Claudia Ringler, a senior research fellow at the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute, said: "It is certainly laudable that Kenya plans to set up a regional emissions trading scheme for Africa.

"[But] setting up such a system is highly complex and will require a large amount of resources and capacity development. It is not clear if the government has the will or the resources needed to both develop and keep such a system alive.

"Secondly, while a Kenya-based scheme could and should support poor rural smallholder farmers in the country, reaching out to farmers, pastoralists and those in charge of conserving forests will be even more complex, and has yet to be achieved at scale by existing voluntary carbon markets."

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Gender-based violence in Sierra Leone

Freetown Rainbo Centre staffRainbo Centre signWorking to prevent violence
Midwife Annie MafindaSafiatu Jalloh, counselorMidwife Many Sowa
Rakel LarsonChief Officer Balogun DixonMadam Julia Sarkodie Mensah
Police Family Support UnitCourtroom posterJoseph Rahall
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Freetown Rainbo Centre staff

Staff, including midwives, counsellors and security guards, at the Freetown Rainbo Centre, in the Princeses Christian Maternity Hospital, which deals with rape crises. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Rainbo Centre sign

Rainbo Centre sign which hangs in all three centres in Sierra Leone. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Working to prevent violence

Six members of a men's group in Kenema, Sierra Leone run by IRC. They are working to change men's attitudes and stop violence before it starts. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Midwife Annie Mafinda

Midwife Annie Mafinda, with toys in the counselling room at the Freetown Rainbo Centre. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Safiatu Jalloh, counselor

Safiatu Jalloh, counselor with the Rainbo Centre in Kenema. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Midwife Many Sowa

Many Sowa, midwife at the Kenema Rainbo Centre, Sierra Leone. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Rakel Larson

Rakel Larson, United Nations Displaced Persons representative, working with Irish Aid on the Saturday Courts project. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Chief Officer Balogun Dixon

Balogun Dixon, Chief Officer Pademba Road Prison, at the Freetown Courthouse. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Madam Julia Sarkodie Mensah

Madam Julia Sarkodie Mensah, Consultant Master and Registrar of the Sierra Leone Judiciary. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Police Family Support Unit

The Family Support Unit in the Kenema Police Force, pictured outside their station. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Courtroom poster

Poster on the walls of a courtroom in the Freetown Courthouse building offering socio-legal support for victims of gender-based violence. Photo: Niamh Griffin.

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Joseph Rahall

Joseph Rahall, Executive Director of eco-NGO 'Green Scenery', at their offices in Freetown, Sierra Leone.