A post covid recovery plan should prioritise people and not a polluting coal industry, this is according to Greenpeace Africa. The Kenyan budget outlining the governments’ plans for Kenya’s Post COVID recovery released in June 2021 clearly shows the government’s intentions to prioritise coal over the health and well-being of Kenyans.

The budget focuses on coal exploration instead of investing in a green recovery, flouting an earlier commitment by all of Africa’s Ministers of the Environment to support a green COVID-19 recovery plan.

Greenpeace Africa Campaigner Amos Wemanya states that ”We cannot overemphasize our demand to the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Energy and Petroleum to reallocate funds for coal exploration and mining to renewable energy investments that will benefit both the people of Kenya and the environment.

In the recent budgetary plans, the government of Kenya through the Ministry of Treasury has allocated 1.3 billion shillings to the exploration and mining of coal. The 2021/2022 budget focus is on recovery following the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting containment measures.

“Funding coal in a budget meant to help Kenyans build resilience to the climate crisis and COVID-19 impacts is failing our communities”, added Wemanya.

The Climate Crisis and COVID-19 pandemic have both had devastating impacts on the lives, and livelihoods of many Kenyans. Extreme weather events of floods and droughts are becoming more frequent and more intense as the climate crisis deepens.

Climate-related losses have not ceased because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Post Covid Recovery Budget needs to address the climate and COVID-19 crises faced by Kenyans and not funding coal. Therefore, it is important that Post-COVIDCovid budgetary allocation and investments are made towards a green, just and healthy recovery, that is the best insurance against future disasters.

Funding Coal exploration will increase the vulnerability of communities to the impacts of the climate crisis and COVID-19.

“As Kenya looks at building back better, we must not place issues of the climate crisis on the back burner. We need to ensure that clean, renewable, affordable, reliable and accessible energy sources are at the heart of our investments to build back better” continued Wemanya.

A recovery driven by renewables will help tackle the challenge of the climate crisis and at the same time help communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, a recovery that is driven by renewable energy sources will contribute to more equitable and inclusive communities by improving access to reliable, clean and affordable energy.

“In Kenya’s recovery budget, it is important that the Cabinet Secretary of Energy and Petroleum reallocates the funds meant for coal exploration and mining to renewable energy investments that will improve the lives and livelihoods of communities affected by the Climate crisis and COVID 19 pandemic.” Amos Wemanya emphasized.

The COVID 19 pandemic has caused loss of incomes to both men and women. but nations around the world have betrayed their promises to build back better and greener, as shown in a recent study by the UN Environment Programme and the University of Oxford. The government must show concern in its budgetary allocations to reflect the new realities faced by the Kenyan public.