Population Footprints Nairobi Symposium
Kenya's Population, Health & Environment within the Context of Global Climate Change
The Nairobi Population Footprint Symposium, held on May 25-26, 2011 at Southern Sun Mayfair Hotel, aimed to promote public awareness and debate on the linkages between population growth, Climate Change, and the environment in Kenya. The two-day meeting included technical presentations and open discussions on the linkages, challenges as well as policy and program responses associated with these issues. The meeting also participated in the London Population Footprints Symposium through live video streaming.
The African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development (NCAPD), which is under the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 (Government of Kenya) hosted the symposium, which was funded by UCL Institute for Global Health, Venture Strategies for Health and Development, AFIDEP, and Kenya Young Greens. The Symposium attracted about 100 participants from universities, government of Kenya, NGOs, youth movements, civil society organizations, private sector, UN agencies, and the media.
Delegates noted that discussions about the role of population growth should always acknowledge that Africa and other developing countries contribute the least to Climate Change and yet they bear the disproportionate share of the adverse effects of Climate Change. Furthermore, it should be acknowledged that population growth in developing and developed countries is a key driver of Climate Change globally since it leads to increased consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Consumption levels in the West are, however, the primary cause of global warming.
Delegates also noted that rapid population growth in Africa translates to more people being exposed to impacts of climate change and increased costs of adaptation both at the household and national levels. They agreed that rapid population growth exacerbates poverty levels and environmental degradation, thereby undermining the capacity of African countries to effectively adapt to the effects of climate change. Delegates noted that African governments are becoming increasingly aware of the need to slow down population growth and that meeting the high unmet need for family planning will go a long way in improving the health and wellbeing of women, children, and overall sustainable development. There was general consensus that Climate Change adaptation initiatives should integrate population issues, including promotion of voluntary family planning.
Delegates noted with concern that Climate Change discourses and policies have been slow to integrate health and population issues including empowerment of women. Population and health experts were, therefore, called upon to play a more proactive role in local and global climate change discourses and negotiations. The symposium also called on African governments and the international community to enhance investments in family planning. The research community was tasked to produce more robust evidence on the impact of Climate Change on the environment, health, and sustainable development, and how these issues relate to population growth and to the design and monitoring of Climate Change adaptation strategies.
Delegates agreed to galvanize research, interest and program action around Population and Climate change issues in Kenya through the existing Population, Health and Environment. Delegates also called for a more in-depth conference in order to have a more comprehensive assessment of the state of evidence on inter-linkages between population, climate change, environment, and health in Kenya and explore ways for strengthening policy and program.
Population Footprints 2011
UCL Institute for Global Health
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