Environment Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said late on Monday that despite the choice of some countries to opt out of the Durban consensus deal, which agreed on the implementation of the Green Climate Fund and others, Nairobi was keen to support a future with low carbon emissions.
"Kenya and our neighboring countries are too familiar with extreme climate events," Mwakwere said, pointing out the national economy lost at least 2.8 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due drought in the Horn of Africa.
Addressing a meeting of the Cartagena Dialogue, a gathering of states keen to participate effectively in international climate negotiations, Mwakwere said a legally binding and verifiable mechanism was the best approach to arrest climate change.
"While the Durban platform may have delayed action in addressing climate change, we in Kenya welcomed it as a breakthrough towards a comprehensive deal to secure the world in the future," Mwakwere said.
Upon its adoption, the Durban package received a worldwide consensus, but one country announced it would stay out of the deal. Many countries in Africa said the deal was below expectations but agreed to embrace it in the meantime.
"Indications are that parties are beginning to take tough positions for the forthcoming negotiations to unpack the Durban package and identify pathways towards lasting agreements," Mwakwere warned.
The minister said during the Durban climate talks, an agreement was struck that may have delayed action against climate change, but was still considered a breakthrough towards a comprehensive deal to secure the world in future.
"We should avoid being distracted from the real issue which is achieving a fair, comprehensive and effective emissions reduction in the shortest time possible," Mwakwere said.
"We should therefore avoid renegotiating the Durban outcomes and instead build on its success."
The minister's assessment on the state of play in the global climate change negotiations came as the U.N.'s top climate change official warned that only a 'miracle' would help to keep the pace of implementation.
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres warned the implementation of the key aspects of the Durban package could be running behind schedule unless the state parties agreed to appoint key officials.
Speaking in Nairobi during the Cartagena Dialogue for Progressive action, which provides informal space for countries to work towards an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding regime, Figueres said a three-year work plan was not yet approved.
She spoke about the recent efforts to establish an expert climate review panel, which would look at whether adequate steps have been taken to reduce the rise of temperatures to ensure that it does not go beyond the 2 degrees centigrade.
At least three key committees to be created under the Durban deal are still waiting to receive nominees while the deadline for holding the first session of the board meeting to determine the distribution of the climate change funds, remains unsolved.
Figueres said procedures for new markets mechanism, part of the main agreements struck under the Durban package, was also in the works.
She said the UNFCCC was currently working on the creation of the institutions to fight climate change.
Mwakwere said based on scientists warnings; the world is only eight years away from reaching the two-degrees Celsius goal.
"This requires deliberate action by all nations of the world toward low carbon development pathway while the same time delivering economic growth and poverty reduction. It requires all nations adopt resource efficiency and green growth."
Under the procedures for new markets, the Durban climate package seeks to define new mechanisms of dealing with the destruction of forests.
The Cartegena Dialogue has brought together 80 delegates from 38 countries, to discuss the rationale behind different countries position on greenhouse gas emissions reduction and what is a new legally binding agreement to cap global emissions should look like.
They are also discussing ways of ensuring adequate and effective finance to support the most vulnerable populations adapt to the impact of climate change on the ground.
Mwakwere said the government was bound by a set of new rules in the constitution, which requires the government to maintain at least 10 percent forest cover.
He said the law also requires the planting of at least 7.6 billion seedlings over the next 20 years. "We are convinced that this will greatly boost our water, food and energy securities whilst increasing carbon sinks," Mwakwere said. "For us, all these survival strategies to adapt to the real risks of climate change."