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Kenya’s Pathway to a Green Economy

Kenya Vision 2030 is the current development blueprint for Kenya for 2008 - 2030. The Vision relies on three important pillars of economic, social, and political development to transform the country into “a newly industrialising, middle income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment”.

See the Country Study Summary of Kenya


The implementation of the Vision 2030 is through successive five-year Medium-Term Plans (MTPs). The vision for environment sector is anchored in the Social Pillar which advocates for “a just and cohesive society enjoying reputable social development in a clean and secure environment”. To this end, the government identified several environmental goals and strategies in the following four areas for the MTP 2008-2012: conservation; pollution and waste management; arid and semi-arid land and high-risk disaster zones; and environmental planning and governance.

For more information on Kenya’s Vision 2030, click here.

Kenya has changed its development model from the present carbon-intensive to a low-carbon pathway by means of integrating and implementing various ‘green’ strategies on natural capital. Examples include efforts directed at forests and biodiversity conservation, the promotion of organic agricultural practices, the minimisation and recycling of wastes, the development of renewable energy and the promotion of sustainable production and consumption via National Cleaner Production Centres in the country.

In October 2010, the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (http://www.environment.go.ke) installed an inter-ministerial committee to promote the formulation of a national green economy programme for the country. In addition, in November 2010 the Green Schools Programme was launched, aiming to assist schools in the water catchment areas in planting tree seedlings and nurturing them to maturity via the establishment of tree nurseries and roof water catchment harvesting. The programme is designed as an instrument to mobilise educational institutions to actively participate in environmental restoration and conservation.

In recent years, resource valuation estimates the total economic value of the Mau Forest Complex to the economy, including tourism, hydro power, agriculture and the tea industry as much as US$1.5 billion a year. This has triggered a multi-million restoration initiative by the government to reverse trends of deforestation. The main aim of the Mau Forest Reforestation Project is to restore deforested and degraded areas within the Eastern Mau catchment area. This project is one of the possible measures to curb forest destruction and restore the resource base in order to maintain the flow of vital ecosystem goods and services. It also aims to attract carbon trading investment.

For more information on the Mau Forest Complex, clich here.  

Green Economy Success Story - The case of Kenya’s renewable energy feed-in-tariff

In March 2008, Kenya’s Ministry of Energy adopted a feed-in tariff, based on the realisation that renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, small hydros, biogas and municipal waste energy have potential for income and employment generation, while also contributing to the energy supply and diversification of electricity generation sources. The feed-in-tariff which was revised in 2010 is expected to trigger the generation of an additional 1300 MW of electricity from clean sources over the next five years, nearly a doubling of the country’s current installed capacity, while creating jobs and powering the rest of the economy.

For more information on the Feed-In Tariff, click here.

Partnership with UNEP on Green Economy

        As part of a regional initiative on green economy in Africa, UNEP is partnering with Kenya on the implementation of a project on Green Economy and Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship Development, with support from the European Union. Through this initiative, UNEP will provide support to the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources and a national research institute in Kenya to undertake macro-economic assessments. Their aim is to identify areas for green investments in order to contribute to economic growth and development, decent job creation and environmental improvement. Through this support, the Government will:

  • Identify and invest in key sectors for transition towards a green economy;
  • Develop a coherent national framework  to guide the transition to a green economy;
  • Create awareness on a green economy;

Other UNEP related initiatives

  • Kenya-Tanzania-Uganda Green Jobs Programme

Realising that green jobs and the promotion of the green economy are required for achieving a meaningful economic and social development that is also environmentally sustainable, the International Labour Organisation is actively involved in the promotion of green jobs in Kenya,Tanzania, and Uganda under the Green Jobs Programme. The main aim of the Green Jobs Programme in these countries  is to promote green youth entrepreneurship.

For more information on the ILO Green Jobs Programme, click here.


  • Technology Needs Assessments

UNEP, on behalf of the UNFCCC and the GEF, is implementing a new round of Technology Needs Assessments (TNAs), but the objectives go beyond only identifying technology needs. The TNAs will lead to the development of a national Technology Action Plan (TAP) that prioritises technologies, recommends an enabling framework for the diffusion of these technologies and facilitates identification of good technology transfer projects and their links to relevant financing sources. The TAP will systematically address practical actions necessary to remove policy, finance and technology related barriers to technological diffusion.

More information on TNAs can be assessed from here

  • Poverty and Environment Initiative

The UNDP-UNEP Poverty and Environment Initiative (PEI) seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and improved well-being of poor and vulnerable groups through the inclusion of environmental concerns into national development processes. The government’s objective is to ‘encourage the acceleration of productivity and growth, and launch a process for sustainable development’. The Poverty and Environment Initiative aims to support the integration of environment into development policy, planning and budgeting processes in Kenya. The PEI project is a direct response to the needs identified by the Government of Kenya on the importance of the environment for achieving its economic recovery and poverty reduction goals and attaining the Millennium Development Goals. These needs are captured in various development plans such as the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (2003 – 2007) and the recent Vision 2030 (2008 – 2030).

Detailed information on Poverty and Environment Initiative in Kenya can be assessed from here.

  • UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2009 – 2013

The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in Kenya for 2009-2013 seeks to contribute to the realisation of national priorities and to identify development issues that are aligned with the Government’s Vision 2030 and the National Medium Term Plan. The overarching objectives are to improve governance and the respect for human rights; to empower the poor, and to reduce disparities and vulnerabilities; and to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth to reduce poverty and hunger. Climate change is among the cross-cutting themes the UNDAF 2009 - 2013 seeks to tackle. Expected UNDAF outcomes include measurably reduced risks and consequences of conflict and natural disasters, as well as strengthened environmental management for economic growth with equitable access to energy services and a policy response to climate change.

The full UNDAF Report can be assessed from here

What Kenyan Leaders have said about the Green Economy

Kenyan President, H.E. Mwai Kibaki:

(...)"We need to move towards a green and low carbon economy, for this will deliver multiple benefits and ultimately result in achieving sustainable development that benefits all."(...) 

Opening Remarks during UNEP’s 25th Governing Council, 16 February 2009. For the full speech, please click here