Skip to content

Assessing Kenyan Law and Practice in the Mainstreaming of a Low Carbon Development Pathway in Agriculture

Robert Kibugi


Kenya is an ecologically diverse nation located on the Equator in East Africa. Most of the land is classified as arid or semi-arid (ASAL). In 2016, agri- culture contributed approximately 33% to Kenya’s GDP, relative to approximately 47% and 20% GDP contribution by the services and industry sector. Due to this importance of agriculture to national GDP, and the impacts of climate change on agriculture, adaptation to climate change is considered critical to policy and legal priorities. Meanwhile, Kenya’s responsibility for global climate change is very little, as the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions represent less than 1% of total glob- al emissions. As a developing country, Kenya’s international obligations concern adopting a low GHG emissions development pathway, unlike developed countries that are required to implement a pathway towards net-zero emissions under the Paris Agreement. The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted as updated in December 2020 to the UNFCCC revised Kenya’s overall GHG emissions reduction targets upwards from 30% to 32% by the year 2030. Kenya’s climate change goals are therefore not currently focused on attainment of net zero emissions, or even net zero CO2 emissions. Instead, the country’s climate actions are focused on progressive transition to development that reduces reliance on carbon within the conditional and unconditional NDC targets, while prioritising adaptation. The Climate Change Act requires mainstreaming of climate actions across sectors. A Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy has been approved and the priority actions it identifies to reduce emissions from agriculture production systems, such as agroforestry, are implemented as adaptation actions, with mitigation or emissions reduction co-benefits. The article has identified and examined some of these actions and others drawn from agricultural. While legal and policy interest exists in reducing GHG emissions, it will take time for this to become agriculture imperatives, especially while the vulnerabilities that need adaptation actions continue to prevail.

Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Nairobi. For Correspondence: <>


Lx-Number Search

(e.g. A | 000123 | 01)

Export Citation