MEMBERS of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) are pushing for enactment of a Bill on climate change, describing the phenomenon as one of the most serious threats to global security.
Moving a resolution to oblige the assembly to expedite introduction of suitable Bill on climate change during the culmination of the fifth meeting of the second session last Friday, South Sudanese Dr Woda Jaremiah Odok described climate change as the phenomenon with no respect to borders and an existential challenge to humanity.
“The delay in presenting the Bill to the house for debate and enactment is constraining and frustrating community efforts to deal with the adverse effects of climate change,” submitted the lawmaker.
Dr Odok noted that the EAC population continues to suffer extreme poverty coupled with low adaptive capacities and livelihoods of both urban and rural populations due to unpredictable weather patterns.
The EALA member added that EAC partner states’ economies were generally dependent on climate sensitive natural resources, charging that the solution to address the matter was now long overdue.
Supporting the resolution, Kenyan representative Dr Oburu Oginga said food production was hampered by unpredictable weather.
“Weather patterns have changed drastically and have become unpredictable,” he said, adding: “This has affected the planting seasons and continues to wreak havoc in the region and beyond.”
He singled out Cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique and was felt in Tanzania as devastating, noting further that only 25 per cent of Kenya was arable land while human competition and other activities in the area remained detrimental to forest cover.
Tanzanian representative Josephine Lemoyan said no single partner state had the capacity to control climate change, “I fully support the idea to have collective efforts in addressing the matter.”
The resolution, which received overwhelming support on the floor of the house, avers that the council of ministers adopted the East African Community Climate Change Policy in 2011 aiming at addressing the adverse effects of climate change and providing strategies to respond to its negative impact both at national and regional levels.
Thereafter, the council embarked on the requisite Bill to guide partner states on implementation of collective measures to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, a move that has never come to fruition, so far.