CS Soipan, Kenyan Climate Scientists Decry Low Representation in AR6

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Soipan Tuya in collaboration with Kenyan climate scientists convened highlighting some of the gaps cited from the sixth assessment cycle(AR6) upon which discussions ensued on how to address them towards the seventh Assessment Cycle(AR7). CS Soipan called for action in matters of research and an increase in the inclusion of scientists authoring the reports henceforth.

Evidenced in the sixth assessment cycle was the underrepresentation of African voices with only 11% of the authors African amongst whom only 1% were Kenyan. A matter that has raised concerns amongst the scientists at the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), the University of Nairobi, and various partners who link this low representation to the presence of gaps in raising critical issues faced by the people.

CS Soipan emphasizes the importance of participation and representation of African scientists in climate research and action, CS Soipan Tuya called for urgency in collaboration, inclusion, and support in terms of funding to foresee detailed climate research thus decisive, impactful decisions made.

CS Soipan
CS Soipan Tuya

“It’s a time for us to shift our thinking from dependence on the big emitters and structure our response actions as least emitters to deploying actions impactful enough to build resilience. The climate research agenda has to be informed by local community needs based on the challenges they face on the day-to-day. Based on the science presented in the 6th assessment cycle, it’s an unattractive picture of the threats posed by unmitigated climate change,” said CS Soipan.

CS Soipan lauded the election of Kenyan Scientist Dr. Cromwell Lukorito as Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II, the CS urged for more inclusion to make our voices heard prominently, especially with the oncoming 7th assessment cycle.

“We cannot achieve our goals in isolation; we need effective collaboration hence we want our experts to contribute extensively, and our reviews to be thorough,” CS Soipan added.

According to Dr. Cromwell Lukorito, there’s limited comprehension of the IPCC focal points hence a minor involvement of African researchers in this critical climate space.

“There’s a need for researchers to arise and take the lead in these conversations to enable Kenya to rally a common research agenda that will strengthen the capacity of our national focal points. We need to increase support and engagement of African societies in the 7th IPCC assessment report and beyond,” said Dr. Lukorito.

CS Soipan

Dr. Lukorito cited one of the main challenges faced by scientists/ researchers in space to be funding. He further revealed that only 3.8 percent of the staggering USD1.51 trillion global financing for climate change research between 1990 and 2020 was allocated to African topics, with African institutions receiving a mere 14.5 percent of the allocation. 

He reiterated the vitality of indigenous knowledge and local communities as mentioned by CS Soipan. Dr. Lukorito emphasizes the need to strengthen the scientific impact of African research. Adding that the documenting of these researches in high-impact journals will enhance not only the credibility of Africa’s contributions but will also make us more visible.

Prof Lukorito highlights some of the gaps like vulnerability assessment caused by lack of data to support it, climate modeling, and loss and damage quantification among others. “We must restructure our research agenda through revision of national research institutes to equip ourselves well to tackle these challenges,” he added.

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