Tuesday, April 2, 2024

University of Nairobi in partnership with Global Center for Adaptation (GCA) launched the Climate Adaptation Changemakers School 2024 forum at the iconic Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI). The forum   dubbed ‘Climate – Proofing Our Future by Building Infrastructure Resilience’ aimed to enhance the capacity of professionals to design, implement and monitor effective adaptation projects with a focus on infrastructure and nature-based solutions. This four-day transformative program took place from 25th to 28th March an initiative of Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program #AAAP.

The forum sought to bridge the Science, Policy and Practice gaps and brought together key infrastructure players from Academia, Transport, ICT, Energy, Water, Environmental management, Meteorology and the private sector to advance Climate Adaptation and Infrastructure Resilience due to Mother nature’s wrath. Climate change impacts characterized by rising frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, floods, mudslides and extreme temperature accelerated infrastructural deterioration and structural damage costing Africa $30 billion annually. Case in point, flooding of the Nairobi Expressway on 24th March, 2024.

CS Roads and Transport, Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen represented by PS. Eng.Joseph Mbugua applauded Change Makers School 2024 and GCA for their consistent advocacy of Climate Adaptation and Infrastructure Resilience. He noted that the transport sector was leading in Green House Emissions (GHE) and that the Ministry has committed to planting 20 million trees annually under the Governments 15 billion trees campaign aimed at ecosystem restoration and carbon neutrality by 2050. PS. Eng. Mbugua also commended his alma mater for its advocacy in adapting infrastructure systems to climate change coinciding with the Ministries’ new Electric Mobility Policy targeting growth of clean transport and industrialization.

PS. Eng.Joseph Mbugua speaking at the Opening Ceremony of Changemakers School Nairobi 2024

Charles Nhemachena, Regional Director for Africa, GCA, who was representing the CEO of GCA and Chancellor, UoN Prof. Patrick Verkooijen, noted that, ‘This Climate Adaptation Changemakers Masterclass on Infrastructure is a convergence of minds. It is also a beacon of hope and action in the face of climate challenges that threaten our collective future. This masterclass is a commitment in action- to bridge the gap between science, policy and practical implementation. The stakes could not be higher. Infrastructure resilience is not a luxury. It is a necessity.’  

Charles Nhemachena, Regional Director for Africa, GCA,speaking at the Launch of Changemakers School Nairobi 2024


Ms. Adele Cadario, Programme Lead of Infrastructure and Nature-based Solution at GCA shared,’ “Climate change impacts the most vulnerable people and understanding how Climate Risk affects infrastructure assets informs the overall life resilience of infrastructure.  Support from the political wing and decision makers provide ground to articulate where to prioritize adaptation efforts and disseminate best technical knowledge. Infrastructure is an enabler of trade, transport, food security and empowerment thus the need to Climate Proof our future.”

Ms. Adele Cadario, Programme Lead of Infrastructure and Nature-based Solution at GCA

Prof. Amukowa Anagwe, Chair of Council UoN noted that reforms in the New Strategic plan leveraged climate smart technology to attract strategic partnerships from government and beyond as well as upscale partnership with GCA advancing the green economy in Kenya.

Prof. Amukowa Anagwe, Chair of Council, UoN speaking at the opening ceremony of Changemakers School Nairobi 2024

Eng. Karuri Mwangi , Project Engineer, KENHA,observed that GCA and UoN had various tools and collaborations with KENHA  to design and formulate programs to aid Climate Resilience capacity building. He also emphasized that National and urban planning cannot be left to a single organization because infrastructure cross cuts urban settlement thus the need for inter-organizational collaboration to enhance Climate Resilient Infrastructure and by extension social welfare.

Leveraging Climate finance for infrastructure projects was tackled by Dr Bert Scholtens, Professor of Sustainable Banking and Finance, University of Groningen and our very own Prof. Daniel Olago, Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation.

Rebel, Principal, Mr. Marcel Ham and Ms.Cecilia Njigi, Project Manager, PPP Directorate elaborated on integrating Climate Resilience into the PPP procurement process. While Prof. Faith Karanja looked at the direct and indirect socio-economic impact during infrastructure down time.

In his closing remarks Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Brian Ouma commended the Changemakers School 2024 forum and noted that H.E William Ruto was a board member of GCA therefore Climate Resilience infrastructure is of crucial importance. He thanked GCA for its visionary leadership and unwavering commitment in advancing education, research and innovation in the field of Adaptation. He noted that the Government remained the largest singular investor in the 4 sectors of Transport, Water, Energy and ICT and was keeping up with the evolving changes in the environment and advancing resilient and adaptable infrastructure. He urged the Changemakers to share their expertise, insights and passion to enrich the collective understanding and challenges confronting us, inspiring sustainable designs and implementation driving positive change in our country.