Climate change causing loss and damage in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley

New report by Climate Refugees

Increasing and extreme climate change effects are placing entire Kenyan communities in fragile situations with limited access to support.

A new report by Climate Refugees details stories that demonstrate the severe and wide-ranging climate change losses and damages communities are experiencing in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley.

Site visits to 10 distinct locations and discussions with nearly 100 affected individuals demonstrates how prolonged drought and major flooding of lakes is causing displacement, human rights losses, and development setbacks for communities who are least responsible for climate change and are often overlooked by existing policies, funding arrangements and humanitarian interventions.

“Kenya is being devastated by climate change, and now some of the poorest communities have lost their sources of livelihood, even becoming climate refugees,” said Amali Tower, Founder and Executive Director of Climate Refugees, who conducted the visits in late 2022 in Kenya’s Baringo, Turkana and Nairobi counties. “In the absence of adequate climate adaptation, these are already marginalised Indigenous groups and ethnic minorities that are fending for themselves in the shadows.”

The report situates displaced and impacted people’s stories in the foreground, recognising that affected communities are not heard nearly enough, although they play a key role in developing effective policies for addressing the harms caused by climate change. Discussions with local organisations and government leaders also offer an important opportunity to situate loss and damage as a threat to human rights and development gains, showing that urgent action and significant new funding is required.

Ahead of the annual UN climate conference, COP28, in November, the report provides valuable recommendations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as regional organisations and government actors. Expanded and strengthened legal protections for displaced people, adequate and accessible grant-based climate finance, and implementation of locally-based preparedness and resilience-building measures are just a few of the solutions proposed. All of these solutions must be informed by the experiences of impacted people.

Access the full report “Climate change is controlling everything, let them compensate us”: Stories of loss and damage in Kenya here.

Climate Refugees is a non-profit founded in 2015 to bring attention and action to help people displaced as a result of climate change, through field reports, research, and advocacy.