What should Kenya do?


Enhance NDC to be 1.5 degree aligned by COP26:

  • Phase out coal and oil and fast track the transition to 100% renewable energy by 2020 to remain consistent with a 1.5C world
  • Develop long-term low-carbon development strategy by COP26
  • Build strong monitoring and coordination processes to break silos and improve non-state actors’ participation in NDC implementation

Build a just and resilient recovery plan:

  • Integrate climate action including just transition targets in post-Covid recovery plans to address vulnerabilities
  • Provide funding for Green based SMEs to create Green Jobs through all Supply Chain
  • The digital economy in Kenya is booming and ensuring its resilience and sustainability would cushion the country’s economy from future shocks
  • The eco-tourism sector should be a focus in Kenya’s recovery to revive the startling economic shed it experienced in 2020
  • Promotion of disaster resilient agriculture to ensure resilience and food security
  • Debt financing and debt relief negotiations will be vital to recovery as the sovereign debt crisis could be a hindrance to national development
  • Do not give priority to investments that enhance fossil fuels and fast track green solutions

What you need to know about Kenya?

  • Kenya updated their NDC on 24 Dec 2020, increasing their target from 30% to 32% emission reduction by 2030 relative to the Business as Usual (BAU) scenario of 143 MtCO2eq and enhancing their domestic contribution commitment to the NDC cost from 0% to 13.2%
  • The government, in its aim to achieve energy self-sufficiency, is trying to increase its exploitation of oil and gas in Lamu and Turkana Counties and base its recovery on the extractive sector. However, halting of dirty energy projects (Lamu Coal Plant) by the Environment Tribunal sets precedence for transition to 100% renewable energy in the country
  • In the NDC update process, inadequate coordination of non-state actors and sectoral agencies has been identified as an impediment towards raising ambition and eventual NDC implementation
Recovery Measures to Highlight

  • The government has put in place fiscal measure to address the impact the pandemic and the lockdown measures have on the people; these measures include a 100% waiver on income taxes to individuals who receive less than KES24,000 (US$225) per month and a reduction of both income and corporation taxes by 5% from 30% to cushion individuals and corporations against excessive taxes
  • Further an additional KES10 billion (US$93 million) has been earmarked for social protection in the form of cash transfers to the elderly, orphans and vulnerable members of society
  • Focus on Green Infrastructure within recovery plans with efforts being made to rebuild smart, sustainable and liveable cities

Recent developments, threats and levers for action

Recent developments

  • Strong economic development: Kenya’s efforts to grow its economy provides an opportunity for integration of green growth and just transition pathways that deliver sustainable green development. There exists robust climate, energy and environmental policies that if implemented can deliver sustainable development and enhance climate ambition over the short and long term
  • Public engagement and participation as a driver for social justice. The current administration has a strong drive for public engagement to support social inclusion in development processes. This is a fundamental approach to driving people-centered climate policy and NDC implementation. Realizing climate justice is achieving social justice
  • Ecosystem conservation, protection and restoration: The government is providing leadership in ecosystem conservation with tree planting, forest restoration and mainstreaming of sustainable management practices in nature and agriculture being advanced. This has multiple benefits for climate, health and sustainable development objectives that are espoused in the constitution
  • Enhanced energy security:  Energy access remains an issue of concern in rural Kenya. The desire for energy self-sufficiency is unfortunately driving appetite for dirty energy with government committing to extraction of fossil fuels and establishment of coal despite public outcry. Kenya acknowledges that energy security is a priority, with plans to power the country entirely with renewable energy by 2020 still underway
  • Kenya does not yet have long-term emissions reduction strategies and targets but have initiated the process of developing a “2050 Long-Term Greenhouse Gas Strategy and Carbon Resilience Development Pathway under the Paris Agreement”
  • Kenya seeks help from China for debt relief: Kenya is negotiating a debt relief deal with China on an individual basis after it initially turned down the G20 debt relief initiative, saying the terms of the deal were too restrictive. The country, however, weighed its options and is now seeking the G20 offer amid delays in closing a deal with Beijing. The G20 debt relief has the potential to save KSh 85 billion ($802.6 million) in debt servicing this year and coupled with a bilateral agreement with China, Kenya’s largest bilateral lender, Kenya’s debt could be slashed substantially


  • Kenya Climate Change Act 2016 setting up institutional arrangements and regulations for guiding Climate Action
  • Climate Action has been integrated into development planning processes with sub-national level efforts being pursued


  • Likely overachievement of 2050 NDC
  • Potential strengthening of NDC implementation coordination, tracking & assessment in collaboration with non-state actors
  • Leveraging Kenya’s robust climate & energy policies to drive innovation & green employment


  • Kenya’s Directorate of climate change has insufficient capacity to provide technical support to governments and undertake effective coordination
  • Inadequate tracking & monitoring systems for NDC implementation
  • Lack of political guidance & leadership in establishing operational structure for the National Climate Change council and Green Growth


  • Mega infrastructure projects that are not climate responsive
  • The construction of a controversial new Coal Plant in Lamu whose case is being appealed by the government in Court
  • Little investments in Green and sustainable Enterprises
  • There is need for international support for the 87% NDC budget of US$ 62Bn

About Climate Diplomacy Snapshots

The data is clear. Accelerated and enhanced action is needed now to build resilience and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As they seek to address the ongoing health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, governments should seize opportunities to invest in a recovery that will build social, economic and climate resilience on the long-term.The Climate Diplomacy Snapshots aim to provide the climate community with a clear overview of what each country should do, on climate and recovery, to pursue these joint objectives and keep the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. Each has been prepared with the help of national experts, and will be regularly updated. The snapshots aim to support climate advocacy in the lead up to COP26.

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