The East African Community and the Climate Change Agenda: An Inventory of the Progress, Hurdles, and Prospects

Author:James Forole Jarso
Position:Holds an LL.B from Moi University in Kenya, an MA in Human Rights & Development from Kampala International University in Uganda
Pages:19-24
 
CONTENT
19WINTER 2012
THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY AND THE
CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA: AN INVENTORY OF THE
PROGRESS, HURDLES, AND PROSPECTS
by James Forole Jarso*
“Climate change cannot be addressed by a single
nation. We must lay emphasis on a regional approach
since whatever happens in our individual nations
affects the entire region. This means that we must
act both individually and collectively, especially in
instituting effective and sufficient measures towards
mitigation against the adverse effects of climate change.
— H.E. Mwai Kibaki1
INTRODUCTION
In the early and mid-1960s, the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa (“UNECA”) championed regional
integration in Africa, calling for division of the vast con-
tinent into regions (“economic blocs”).2 Almost immedi-
ately, African countries responded by grouping based on their
geographic proximity and the congruence of their individual
interests.3 The call would bear more fruits when, in April 1980,
the defunct Organization of African Unity (“OAU”), the prede-
cessor to the African Union (“AU”), launched the Lagos Plan of
Action (“The Plan”).4 The Plan, reaffirmed in the 1991 Abuja
Treaty,5 established three regional arrangements: separate but
convergent integration arrangements for West Africa, Central
Africa, and East and Southern Africa. Over the years, various
initiatives have seen the light of day, as par t of African govern-
ments’ efforts to implement The Plan.6 One such initiative is
the re-establishment, in November 1999, of the East African
Community (“EAC”).7
The initiatives aim to ensure sustainable growth and devel-
opment in the regions concerned.8 The EAC’s constitutive treaty
tasks the EAC to ensure, inter alia, the attainment of sustainable
growth and development, the promotion of sustainable utilization
of natural resources, and effective protection of the natural envi-
ronment, in the Partner States.9 Similar provisions are found in
the EAC’s yet-to-be-operationalized Protocol on Environment
and Natural Resource Management,10 as well as the EAC’s
Fourth Development Strategy.11
So far, the EAC has made remarkable strides in steering the
sub-region towards sustainable growth and development.12 Be
that as it may, like many other sub-regional entities, the EAC
faces numerous challenges.13 Primary among these is climate
change, which poses one of the biggest impediments to the
region’s sustainable growth and development.14
This article details efforts to combat climate change within
the framework of the nascent EAC. The discourse begins by pro-
viding a clear picture of the EAC’s establishment, membership,
purpose, and mandate, and the relevance of the latter two to EAC’s
climate change agenda. This is followed by a general overview of
the evidence and impacts of climate change in the sub-region. In
the substantive sections, the article takes stock of the achievements
registered by the EAC in its efforts to address climate change in
the sub-region, as well as the challenges impeding these efforts.
Weighing these achievements and challenges, it then attempts to
paint the picture of the prospects for addressing climate change
issues in the sub-region within the EAC’s prevailing framework.
Finally, the author submits recommendations for addressing
climate change issues in the sub-region.
UNDERSTANDING THE EAC
In 1967, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania formalized socio-
economic ties by heralding a cooperation-based integration
framework — the first East African Community.15 Unfor tunately,
the EAC was not to live beyond its tenth birthday; in 1977, it met
its demise.16 In November 1999, the EAC was reincarnated as
the three countries committed themselves to a renewed regional
cooperation framework17 under a second EAC Treaty that took
effect on July 7, 2000.18
The new EAC was primarily established to “develop policies
and programmes aimed at widening and deepening co-operation
among the Partner States in political, economic, social and cul-
tural fields, research and technology, defence, security and legal
and judicial affairs, for their mutual benefit.”19 The revived EAC
establishes mutual responsibility for the States’ socio-economic
and political legacies. The latter includes the ravages of poverty,
perpetual debt, the HIV/AIDS menace, economic exploitation,
natural resource depletion, civil wars, and ethnic violence.20
In addition to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, the Treaty
opens avenues for an expanded membership.21 It was on this
basis that Rwanda and Burundi were admitted when the two
acceded to the Treaty on June 18, 2007, and became full mem-
bers July 1, 2007. 22 Expectations are high that the newly inde-
pendent South Sudan may also soon join the growing EAC.23
*James Forole Jarso holds an LL.B from Moi University in Kenya, an MA
in Human Rights & Development from Kampala International University in
Uganda, and a Specialized Diploma in Human Rights from American University
Washington College of Law Academy on Human Rights & Humanitarian Law,
where he received the 2010 Human Rights Award and a Honorable Mention
for the 2011 Award. He is a pro bono Research Fellow at the Elderly Rights
Programme at American University Washington College of Law, and holds the
Head of State Commendation (“HSC”) medal, awarded by the President of the
Republic of Kenya for exemplary humanitarian service in Marsabit County,
Northern Kenya.
20 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LAW & POLICY
The Sudan expressed a similar intention, which was turned down
by the EAC Summit.24
The EAC exists to ensure sustainable growth and devel-
opment in the Partner States.25 It recognizes that “a clean
and healthy environment is a prerequisite for sustainable
development.”26 Thus, the Treaty tasks member states to take
measures to “preserve, protect and enhance the quality of the
environment;”27 “contribute towards the sustainability of the
environment;”28 and “ensure sustainable utili[z]ation of natural
resources.”29 This mandate guides the implementation of a
climate change agenda in the sub-region.
CLIMATE CHANGE IN EAST AFRICA:
EVIDENCE AND IMPACTS
Over the years, climate change has vividly presented itself
as not just an environmental problem, but also as a legal, political,
social, economic, cultural, planning and financing problem.
In the last decade, climate change has posed one of the biggest
impediments to the sub-region’s realization of sustainable
growth and development.30 Unprecedented floods and droughts
have slowed economic growth in the sub-region.31 Now the area
stands a very marginal chance of registering meaningful prog-
ress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
(“MDGs”).32 Particularly affected is the sub-region’s poverty
reduction agenda.33
Climate change has also created serious food security threats
in the sub-region. Due to floods and droughts, the sub-region’s
appalling humanitarian catastrophes have garnered interna-
tional media attention.34 Consequently, news of failed harvests,
massive livestock deaths, malnutrition and nutrition-related
ailments has not been uncommon,35 a situation that has stirred
a growing food insecurity crisis in the sub-region.36 The catas-
trophes have been reported even beyond the traditionally food
insecure areas, to include areas that had hitherto been regarded
as the sub-region’s “food baskets.”37
Further, climate change has generated serious challenges
for human security in the sub-region. On one hand, it continues
to impact the health of millions of the region’s inhabitants as it
unleashes vector- and water-borne diseases.38 As health catastro-
phes impact previously unaffected areas,39 women and children
have borne the brunt of these impacts.40 This fact erodes from
the gains achieved by in implementing MDGs relating to child
mortality and maternal health.41 On the other hand, violent
conflicts in agricultural areas of Kenya,42 Uganda,43 and Tanzania
have been attributed to climate related stresses.44 The frequent
floods and droughts have compounded human suffering,45
deprivation, and displacement.46
In addition, climate change has, over the years, heavily
impacted the sub-region’s ecosystem sustainability. For instance,
the iconic snowcaps on mounts Kilimanjaro, Kenya and
Ruwenzori are fast disappearing, posing significant threats to
downstream ecosystems and livelihoods. 47 Furthermore, rivers
are continually running dry,48 threatening the lives of both
human and wildlife populations.49 With rising sea levels, the
sub-region continues to experience varying extents of coastal
erosion,50 destruction of mangrove forests, and the submergence
of small islands.51 The rise in seawater temperature has also
threatened marine life.52 Cumulatively, these changes pose a
serious threat to tourism, one of the major income-earners for
the local economies.53
THE EAC AND THE CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA:
TAKING STOCK OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS
NORMATIVE PROGRESS WITHIN THE EAC FRAMEWORK
A discourse on climate change within the EAC framework
should commence with an understanding of the relevant provi-
sions of the EAC Treaty. These provisions task the EAC and,
by extension, the Partner States to take measures to preserve
and protect the environment.54 The Treaty stressed the need for
environmental impact assessments (“EIAs”) for all development
projects with potential to affect the environment.55 Over the
years, in response to the challenges created by climate change,
the EAC has taken numerous steps to enhance regulatory regimes
on environmental protection. Examples include:
The Protocol on Environment and Natural
Resources Management
In October 1998, even before the EAC was re-established,
the initial three Partner States created a Memorandum of
Understanding (“MoU”) to govern mutual cooperation in matters
relating to environmental management.56 Upon re-establishment
of the EAC, the Treaty preserved this ad hoc arrangement.57
Further, the Treaty allowed Partner States to enact new Protocols
to promote the Treaty’s mandate.58 In April 2006, the EAC’s
Council of Ministers adopted the Protocol on Environment and
Natural Resources Management, formalizing the MoU.59
The purpose of the Protocol is to promote “cooperation
[among the Partner States] in the management of the environment
and natural resources within their jurisdiction.”60 It applies to the
management of transboundary resources,61 biodiversity,62 forest
and tree resources,63 water resources,64 wetland resources,65
coastal and marine resources,66 energy resources,67 mountain
ecosystems,68 and rangelands.69 Its application also extends to
fight desertification and mitigation of the effects of droughts.70
More importantly, the Protocol applies to mitigation of the
effects of climate change.71 Further, it includes provisions in
respect of protection of ozone layer,72 pollution control and
management,73 environmental impact assessments and audits,74
environmental standards,75 public participation and access to
justice (and information),76 as well as environmental disaster
preparedness and management.77 The Protocol’s nor mative
framework is grounded in a number of international environ-
mental law principles, including the right to a clean and healthy
environment.78 Thus far, all EAC Partner States have ratified the
Protocol save Tanzania,79 which is reportedly “[in] the process
of finalizing the ratification of the Protocol.”80 Once in force,
the Protocol has potential to provide a normative framework and
boost the sub-region’s climate change agenda.
21WINTER 2012
The EAC Common Position on Climate Change
To facilitate effective participation in the on-going regional
and international climate change negotiations, the EAC has
adopted a common position on climate change negotiations,81
culminating after roundtable meetings convened in all five
Partner States — Burundi,82 Kenya,83 Rwanda,84 Tanzania,85
and Uganda.86 The position, which is aligned with the five pillars
of the Bali Plan of Action,87 prioritizes adoption of the five
pillars.88 Other areas of focus are mitigation,89 technology
development and transfer,90 capacity building,91 and financing.92
The EAC Climate Change Policy Framework
The search for a sub-regional climate change policy frame-
work has consistently been on the EAC’s policymakers’ agendas.93
In April 2011, the Ninth Extraordinary Summit adopted and
approved the Declaration on Food Security and Climate
Change,94 the EAC Climate Change Policy,95 and the EAC Food
Security Action Plan, 2010-2015.96 The EAC Climate Change
Policy contributes to sustainable development in the region
through harmonized and coordinated climate change actions.97
In May 2011, the EAC Secretariat convened the Multi-Sectoral
Meeting on Food Security and Climate Change to facilitate expert
deliberation on the modalities of implementing these documents.98
The eventual outcome was the adoption of the EAC Climate Change
Master Plan.99 Together with the EAC Climate Change Policy, the
Master Plan provides a number of guidelines that partner states and
other stakeholders can use in the preparation and implementation of
collective measures to address climate change.100
Climate Change Programming
Climate change has, to a large extent, been mainstreamed in
all programs of the EAC. In fact, the EAC’s recently adopted five-
year development plan recognizes climate change as a threat to
EAC development, calling for “climate-sensitive planning.101 With
the growing body of normative instruments relevant to the climate
change agenda, it can be only envisaged that climate-related issues
will only be further mainstreamed in the EAC’s operations.
Externally, the EAC has partnered with other Regional
Economic Communities (“REC”). In December 2011, in part-
nership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (“COMESA”) and the Southern Africa Development
Community (“SADC”), the EAC launched a joint five-year
Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.102
The initiative, funded by the Royal Government of Norway, the
European Union (“EU”) Commission and UK’s Department
of International Development (“DfID”), was launched on the
sidelines of 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (“COP-17”) in
Durban, South Africa.103
EAC INSTITUTIONS RELEVANT TO THE CLIMATE
CHANGE AGENDA
In tandem with the search for an appropriate normative
framework, the EAC embarked on the establishment of special-
ized institutions to coordinate climate change actions within the
sub-regional framework.104 In December 2010, the Council of
Ministers established the Climate Change Coordination Unit
(“CCCU”) under the EAC Secretariat and appointed a Unit
Coordinator.105 Since that time, the unit has been instrumental in
driving the sub-region’s climate change agenda, working closely
with other EAC institutions.106
But any climate change initiative requires adequate financial
support to actualize its objectives. For this reason, in December
2010, the EAC Summit endorsed the establishment of the EAC
Climate Change Fund.107 Modalities to operationalize the fund
were recently developed.108 If well harnessed, the Fund has the
potential to enhance climate change adaptation and mitigate
actions in the sub-region.109
The LVBC is a specialized institution of the EAC charged
with coordination of sustainable development in the shared Lake
Victoria Basin.110 Among its key activities are: harmonization
of laws and policies on the management of the environment in
the Lake and its catchment area; continued management of the
Lake’s ecosystems; and development of infrastructure on and
around the Lake.111 In this respect, LVBC’s mandate remains
relevant to the sub-region’s climate change agenda.
The LVFO is another specialized institution of the EAC. It
was established under the LVFO Convention112 to harmonize,
develop and adopt conservation and management measures for
the sustainable utilization of the fisheries resources of Lake
Victoria.113 In its work, the LVFO has partnered with local fishing
communities to empower them to become equal and active part-
ners with the government in matters relating to fisheries manage-
ment and development.114 Consequently, its mandate remains
pivotal in the implementation of the sub-region’s agenda on
climate change, poverty reduction and sustainable development.
THE EAC AND THE CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA:
AN INVENTORY OF THE PRACTICAL CHALLENGES
INCAPABLE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
Despite some progress in setting up a climate change gov-
ernance framework, the East African sub-region, like many other
sub-regions of Africa, has yet to establish credible leadership on
climate change. The leaders have not fully committed themselves
to preventing further destruction of the sub-region’s ecosystems, or
to mitigating poverty and hunger, two of the biggest drivers behind
environmental destruction. 115 As vast forestlands are opened to for-
eign agricultural and industrial investments, the sub-region is also
exposed to the threats of climate change.116 To make matters worse,
the Partner States are yet to fully integrate climate change issues in
their national development policies, plans, and strategies.117
CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC MISMANAGEMENT
Over the years, East African countries have consistently
ranked among the continent’s “corruption heavyweights.”118
Corruption, which has been deeply embedded in all aspects
of the sub-region’s public life,119 has profoundly plagued the
sub-region’s socio-economic and political life, and has not
spared climate change adaptation and mitigation programs.120
As public funds (including those from global climate financing
mechanisms) are continually embezzled, corruption has proved
22 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LAW & POLICY
to be a serious threat to climate governance in the sub-region.121
The most obvious result has been the continued weakening of the
local populations’ resilience to the shocks of climate change.122
POVERTY AND ECONOMIC INJUSTICE
East African governments have unsuccessfully struggled to
eradicate poverty.123 Consequently, an overwhelming majority of
East Africans have been exposed to abject poverty and depriva-
tion.124 This unfortunate situation has compounded the climate
change problem in the sub-region; the millions condemned to
perpetual poverty and chronic food insecurity have largely
turned to various forms of environmentally harmful means of
survival, including charcoal burning,125 illegal logging, and
encroachment on sensitive ecosystems.126
MARGINALIZATION OF VULNERABLE GROUPS
By and large, climate change discussions in the sub-region
have been dominated by political elites.127 Sadly, vulnerable
groups — indigenous peoples, women, and children — have
been pushed to the peripheries, effectively removing their voices
from critical policy discussions.128 This challenge, which was
expressly acknowledged at the Seventh African Development
Forum (“ADF-VII”), presents a serious threat to the fight against
climate change because these groups are likely to suffer the
consequences thereof.129
UNRELIABLE CLIMATE FINANCING
Global commitment to the fight climate change is marked
by mixed results.130 In the realm of climate financing, the reality
is far from promising; we have yet to see sustained, adequate,
predictable, and reliable financing for climate change actions in
the sub-region and elsewhere.131 Considering that many of these
actions are capital-intensive, the absence of external financial
support means that the sub-region may be able to do little on its
own.132 This lack of financing is exacerbated firm international
mandates to fight climate change.133
LIMITED INSTITUTIONAL AND TECHNICAL CAPACITY
A critical review of the EAC Partner States reveals that
there is a glaring gap in institutional and technical capacities
to implement climate change programs and projects.134 The
lack of adequate financial and material capacities to implement
climate change adaptation and mitigation actions highlights
the challenges faced by the EAC Partner States. As a result,
the sub-region depends heavily on external funding to drive its
climate change agenda.135 The lack of institutional and technical
capacities has been exacerbated by the general lack of aware-
ness of climate change in national development decisions, a
fact largely attributable to stakeholder’s limited exposure to key
information.136 Thus, climate change issues are yet to be fully
integrated into national policies and strategies.
THE “INDECENT LAND RUSH
Various multinational corporations and foreign governments
have looked to Africa to acquire cheap agricultural land.137 The
East African sub-region has remained a prime target. In deals
largely shrouded in secrecy, governments have leased large
tracts of land, including forestlands and other sensitive ecosys-
tems, to the foreign investors at bargain prices; most affected
are Kenya,138 Tanzania,139 and Uganda.140 Beyond destruction
of forestland and sensitive ecosystems, the deals have caused
displacement of indigenous populations from their traditional
farmlands.141 By exposing the affected populations to the
ravages of poverty and food insecurity,142 the deals exacerbate
the impacts of climate change.
BEYOND THE HORIZON: PROSPECTS FOR CLIMATE
PROTECTION IN THE EAST AFRICAN SUB-REGION
Despite the challenges that the EAC faces in confronting
climate issues, prospects for climate protection in the sub-region
are relatively bright. Below is a cursory review of different reali-
ties surrounding climate change actions, each suggesting that
substantial improvement to climate protection is underway.
PROLIFERATION OF CLIMATE FINANCING MECHANISMS
Recently, a proliferation of climate financing mechanisms
has benefited the sub-region’s countries. The salient ones are:
the Strategic Climate Fund (“SCF”);143 the Congo Basin Forest
Fund (“CBBF”);144 the Forest Carbon Partnership Facilities
(“FCPF”);145 the Global Climate Change Alliance (“GCCA”);146
the Least Developed Countries Fund (“LDCF”);147 and the
Special Climate Change Fund (“SCCF”).148 Despite general
dissatisfaction with and criticism of these mechanisms,149 the
growing body of climate financing facilities can contribute to the
sub-region’s fight against climate change.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The fight against climate change in the sub-region must be
considered in the global context. In this respect, it is important to
note that, over the last two decades, the UN system has seen nor-
mative and institutional developments intended to curb climate
change. On the normative front, issues relating to climate change
are addressed by treaties adopted within the UN system. These
include: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,150
the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (“Desertification
Convention”),151 the Convention on Biological Diversity
(“Biodiversity Convention”),152 the Kyoto Protocol,153 and the
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.154 The sub-region’s countries
have subscribed to these (and other) multilateral environmental
agreements, which hold significant promise for the global cli-
mate change fight.
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
Within the AU framework, climate change has garnered
significant attention of the Assembly of the Heads of State and
Government. In January 2007, the Assembly called upon AU
Member States to integrate climate change considerations into
their national development policies, strategies and programs.155 In
February 2009, the Assembly approved the Algiers Declaration on
Climate Change, paving the way for building a common African
position on climate change.156 In July of the same year, the
Assembly established the Conference of African Heads of State
and Government on Climate Change (“CAHOSCC”) to spearhead
23WINTER 2012
climate governance in the region.157 In February 2010, it requested
the CAHOSCC to establish a streamlined regional negotiation
structure.158 Since then, the CAHOSCC has remained instrumental
in refining the African Common Position on Climate Change.159
Another critical institution within the AU climate change
framework is the African Ministerial Conference on the
Environment (“AMCEN”),160 a specialized committee charged
with providing leadership for environmental management and
advocacy.161 In two special sessions on climate change—the first
in Nairobi, Kenya (May 2009),162 and the second in Bamako,
Mali (September 2011)163—issues relating to climate change
have dominated deliberations. 164
AMCEN has also offered political guidance in matters relat-
ing to environmental protection. It led the process for the devel-
opment and adoption of the Action Plan of the Environment
Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(“NEPAD”),165 and is playing a critical role in NEPAD’s imple-
mentation. Additionally, with the help of the UN Environment
Programme (“UNEP”), it has monitored and reported on the
state of the continent’s environment and plays a pivotal role in
the revision of regional environmental treaties.166
Other regional institutions whose work addresses the cli-
mate change agenda include: the African Development Bank
(“AfDB”),167 NEPAD,168 the AU Conference of Energy Ministers
(“CEMA”),169 and the AU Commission (“AUC”).170 Within the
growing normative and institutional framework, a host of climate
change adaptation and mitigation programmes are currently run-
ning in the region. These include: the Climate for Development
in Africa (“ClimDev-Africa”) Programme;171 the Great Green
Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (“GGWSSI”);172 the
Climate Change Adaptation in Africa Program (“CCAAP”);173
and the Africa Adaptation Programme (“AAP”).174
DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN OTHER RECS
EAC Partner States have overlapping membership in
other RECs. These include: the Inter-Governmental Authority
on Development (“IGAD”), the Common Market for Eastern
Africa (“COMESA”), and the Southern African Development
Community (“SADC”).175 Like the EAC, these RECS have
made remarkable progress in establishing frameworks for com-
bating climate change176 and have proved to be valuable partners
for the EAC in climate change programming.177
PROGRESS WITHIN INDIVIDUAL PARTNER STATES
The EAC Partner States have put in place initiatives with
general and specific effects on the climate change agenda. Below
are several examples of EAC implemented programs within the
territories of Partner States:
Progress in Kenya
Kenya, the only developing country in the sub-region, has
taken numerous normative178 and institutional179 strides to cre-
ate conducive environment for climate change action. Within
this framework, Kenya is currently implementing projects
that include the Climate Change Action Plan,180 the Africa
Adaptation Programme,181 the Kenya Adaptation to Climate
Change in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (“KACCAL”);182 and the
Market Transformation for Efficient Biomass Stoves.183 Further,
at the time of writing, there were five fully registered Clean
Development Mechanism (“CDM”) projects in the country —
the Mumias Sugar Company’s Bagasse-Based Cogeneration
Project;184 the Ol Karia III Phase 2 Geothermal Expansion
Project;185 the Ol Karia II Geothermal Expansion Project;186 the
Lake Turkana Wind Power Project;187 and the Aberdare Range/
Mt. Kenya Small Scale Reforestation Initiative.188
Progress in the Other States
The four Least Developed Countries (“LDCs”) of the sub-
region — Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda — have
made remarkable progress in implementing the climate change
agenda. First and foremost, they have developed their National
Adaptation Programmes of Action (“NAPAs”).189 In addition to
the NAPAs,190 the LDCs have various normative tools which bear
on the climate change agenda.191 This growing wealth of norma-
tive gains is buttressed by subscription to various multilateral
environmental agreements (“MEAs”) relevant to climate change,
including the UNFCCC,192 the Desertification Convention,193
the Biodiversity Convention,194 the Kyoto Protocol,195 and the
Cartagena Protocol.196 Further, the LDCs have taken measures
to establish institutions to manage climate change issues. For
instance, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority
(“REMA”), oversees CDM projects.197 In Tanzania, key institu-
tions include the Environment Division of the Vice President’s
Office and the National Environment Management Council
(“NEMC”). 198 Uganda has an even more elaborate institutional
framework for advancing the climate change agenda.199 Within
their respective normative frameworks, the LDCs are currently
implementing a number of CDM projects: Uganda has the lion’s
share with five — a series of reforestation projects targeting the
Nile Basin;200 Rwanda follows with three;201 while Tanzania has
one.202 Burundi has none at the moment.203 Further, alongside
Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are participating in the AAP204
while Uganda is in the process of incorporating climate change
in the national education curriculum.205
PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Recently, various multilateral and bilateral development
agencies have supported national climate change actions in the
sub-region within the frameworks of COMESA, IGAD and AU.206
These partnerships seek to enhance resource mobilization, mitiga-
tion and adaptation, capacity building, and technology transfer.207
THE FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (“FDI”) RUSH
The FDI rush holds immense promise for the sub-region’s
climate change agenda despite potential negative impacts on
poverty reduction and food security. The sub-region has a huge
potential for investment in renewable energy,208 especially in
Kenya, where large-scale foreign investments have supported
development of geothermal209 and wind power.210 If well har-
nessed, the FDI rush, which has spread its tentacles to all the
EAC Partner States, can be a valuable driving force supporting
the sub-region’s climate change agenda.
24 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LAW & POLICY
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY
AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR
East African civil society organizations (“CSOs”) continue
to play an indispensable role in shaping the sub-region’s climate
change agenda. Though long excluded from mainstream dis-
cussions on the subject, they have gradually come to occupy a
special niche, particularly through their environmental advocacy
activities.211 At the recently concluded COP 17 in Durban, South
Africa, African CSOs played an active role in advancing the
region’s climate change position.212
For its part, the East African private sector has proved criti-
cal in supplementing financing mechanisms projects aimed at
combating climate change.213 Through their private foundations,
private sector companies have vitally injected funds to support
“green project.”214 In June 2008, the Nairobi-based Alliance for
a Green Revolution in Africa (“AGRA”) established the Africa
Enterprise Challenge Fund (“AECF”) to provide competitive
grants and interest-free loans to African entrepreneurs who wish
to implement innovative climate change adaptation projects in
agriculture, financial services, renewable energy, and technology
sectors.215 For instance, in Kenya, financing mechanisms include
UAP Insurance Company’s insurance products targeting the
agriculture Sector216 and the Index-Based Livestock Insurance
(“IBLI”) initiative.217 UKAID, USAID, and the World Bank are
the primary funding sources of the latter project.218
CONTINUED TERRITORIAL GROWTH OF THE EAC
Since the admission of Rwanda and Burundi in June 2007
several other States in the larger East Africa sub-region have
expressed their desire to join the EAC, including the Central
African Republic (“CAR”),219 the Democratic Republic of
Congo (“DRC”),220 Ethiopia,221 the Sudan,222 and the newly
independent South Sudan.223 With growth of the EAC set
to extend to Africa’s biggest carbon sink — the Congo Basin
Forest—the EAC’s geographical sphere of influence continues
to spread. Still, it must be remembered that climate change is
a transnational problem, and can be best dealt with through
concerted international cooperation.
BEYOND RHETORIC: THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE EAC
To enhance the sub-region’s capacity to implement a holistic
climate change agenda that includes sustainable adaptation,
mitigation, technology development and transfer, capacity build-
ing and financing mechanisms the sub-region’s leaders should:
       
climate change actions in the sub-region;
       
institutions, and global mechanisms relevant to the climate
change agenda;
   
Resources Management;
       
climate change discourse, in order to accommodate the
views of vulnerable and marginalized groups;
 
warn and report on threats from climate change, and to link
climate change and disaster risk reduction;
  -
ability in management of climate financing funds and
integrating corruption safeguards in the design of climate
change actions;
      
conservation agriculture and appropriate rainwater harvesting
technologies);
      
change such as emissions trading, and upscale investment in
clean and renewable energy sources (e.g., geothermal, wind,
solar and hydropower options); and
       
and sub-regional laws and policies and initiate a radical
paradigm shift from sectoral planning to integrated, climate-
sensitive planning for development projects;
CONCLUSION
Climate change is, the greatest long-term threat facing
the East African sub-region. This article has demonstrated that
climate change is real and its effects in the sub-region result in
adverse consequences. It has also taken stock of the progress
made, as well as the challenges the sub-region faces. Although
the East African sub-region has made remarkable strides in tack-
ling climate change, much remains to be done. Accordingly, it
is time the EAC and the individual Partner States focused their
attention on climate issues because the cost of inaction far out-
weighs the cost of taking appropriate and timely action.224
Endnotes: The East African Community (“EAC”) and the Climate
Change Agenda: An Inventory of the Progress, Hurdles, and Prospects
1 Mwai Kibaki, President, Republic of Kenya, Statement at the East African
Community Heads of State Retreat on Food Security and Climate Change,
Arusha, Tanzania, at 3 (Dec. 2, 2010), http://www.eac.int/environment/index.
php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=136&Itemid=186.
2 See ALAN MATTHEWS, REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND FOOD SECURITY IN
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES CH. 6 (2003), http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/y4793e/
y4793e0a.htm.
3 Id.
4 LAGOS PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA,
1980-2000, OAU Doc. ECM/ECO 19 (XIV) Rev. 2 (Apr. 1980), http://
www.uneca.org/itca/ariportal/docs/lagos_plan.PDF.
5 Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Economic Community,
Nov. 30, 1999, 2144 U.N.T.S. 255 [hereinafter EAC Treaty].
continued on page 56