JICA set to support Kenya in REDD+ Readiness activities

By Michael Muratha

Climate change, which is defined as a permanent shift in weather patterns is now a reality in Kenya. It is projected that in the next 100 years, the average temperature in East Africa Region could increase by 3o c as a result of climate change. Moreover frequency and intensity of extreme climate events such as drought and floods will also increase in the near future. In order to address these issues the government

developed the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS), which provides a comprehensive understanding of the history of climate change in Kenya including its impact and drivers. Further to this the country is participating in a number of international processes such as the Reducing of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a forest sector targeted climate change intervention aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with forest degradation and deforestation. 


For countries to participate in the REDD+ process four critical elements are required as guided by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); one is the development of a National Strategy and Implementation Framework; development of a Reference Emission Level/Forest Reference Level; development of a robust and transparent National Forest Monitoring System for assessing performance and finally development of a Safeguard Information System for informing how REDD+ safeguards will be addressed.


Already Kenya is in the process of putting in place the four critical elements for implementing REDD+ and so far support from a number of development partners including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the United Nations Forum on REDD+ (UN-REDD), JICA and the Clinton Climate Initiative has been received. The prerequisite for delivering the above elements is almost being completed.  Key among them is the development of a road map for the National Forest Monitoring System and the Forest Reference level.  


The Reference Emission Level and /or Forest Reference Level and the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) are key components in the management of information on the National REDD+ Programme. All countries establishing a National REDD+ Programme are required to establish a national forest monitoring system to support the functions of measurement, reporting and verification of actions and achievements of the implementation of REDD+ activities. The Reference Emission Level/Forest Reference Level serves as the yard stick against which the achievements on implementing REDD+ will be measured. Construction of these two components is critical as it determines to a large extent how Kenya will be compensated for its REDD+ efforts.


The Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will over the next four years support Kenya in developing the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) and establishing a Forest Reference level (FRL) for REDD+. The JICA support is set to be channeled through a project dubbed capacity development for sustainable forest management in Kenya and will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, Kenya Forest Service and KEFRI with some County governments supporting demonstration activities. The key activities in the five year project includes; forest cover mapping, analysis of land use changes, design, develop and testing of the National Forest Monitoring System, as well as operationalizing the National Forest Systems among others. 


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