Earth4All

Launch of Earth4All national engagement strategy in Kenya

Earth4All and Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) co-organised a side event called ‘Emergence from Emergency: Economic System change towards an Earth4All’ at the Africa Climate Summit 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.

At the event, Jane Mariara, the Executive Director of PEP, spoke about the national-level engagement that PEP will undertake for Earth4All to achieve its goal of ensuring well-being for all on a finite planet.

PEP and Earth4All are collaborating to contextualise and realise Earth4All’s extraordinary turnarounds in Kenya through a national campaign directed at engaging national and sub-national governments, building alliances and catalysing action through citisen participation.

Earth4All’s approach

The Earth4All initiative took shape in September 2022 when it published its book Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity – the outcome of a two year-long research project exploring the systems-changes needed to achieve wellbeing for all on a finite planet.

This book is the result of a collaboration between the 21st Century Transformational Economic Commission comprising economic thinkers from across the globe and systems analysts and modeling teams. It builds on the legacies of The Limits to Growth and the Planetary Boundaries frameworks.

At the event, Till Kellerhoff, Earth4All national engagement lead, spoke about the Limits to Growth framework which was published as a book 50 years ago in 1972:

‘It was the first book to point out that unlimited material consumption on a finite world is not possible. Limits to Growth took a holistic approach and that is symptomatic for what we need to do today. We know that climate change is a big issue, but it is part of a broader economic problem, and we need to tackle the causes rather than the symptoms,’ he said.

He emphasised on the ‘breaching of planetary boundaries’ by high income countries and how the consequences are largely felt by low-income countries in the ‘now’ that often have ‘shortcomings on the social factors’. Thus, he underscored that the ‘climate crisis is inherently linked to our socio-economic crisis.

Drawing on this belief, Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity offers a vision and a feasible, affordable plan to achieving systems change by introducing five turnarounds:

  • eliminate poverty,
  • reduce inequality,
  • empower women,
  • transform food systems, and
  • overhaul energy systems. 

Earth4All, which includes results of new global modeling, indicates that falling well-being and rising social tensions heighten risk of regional societal collapses. It explores two scenarios to 2100, which include:

  • The Too Little Too Late scenario where we continue without making any change in global policies or actions, resulting in increasing inequality and social tensions, and
  • The Giant Leap where climate change is stabilised, extreme poverty ends a generation earlier, social tension falls, and wellbeing rises by adopting the five turnarounds. 

PEP leads the national engagement strategy in Kenya

In line with this and as part of its global campaign to advocate for governments to adopt policies for a sustainable planet, Earth4All has engaged PEP to lead the national level engagement in Kenya and is the first country campaign in Africa. The objective of the partnership is to champion Earth4All messages and ensure they are in sync with national and sub-national policies and development priorities in Kenya. The engagement focuses on the following questions:

  • What are the implications of adopting either ‘Too Little Too Late’ or ‘The Giant Leap’ scenarios for well-being, inequality and rising social tensions in Kenya?
  • ​Can we find pathways to reboot our economic system to achieve prosperity for all within planetary limits in a single generation?
  • ​What are the implications for SDGs and Agenda 2063 and beyond?

To achieve this, we will work on the principles of understanding local circumstances, engaging with local partners, including ‘unheard voices’ and drawing on scientific expertise and citizen engagement,’ said Mariara at the Climate Activation Hub side event at the Africa Climate Summit 2023.

She further delineated the four pillars for national engagement in Kenya, which include:

  1. Developing science-based policy propositions directed at national and sub-national governments​​, catalysing a national informal alliance, convening deliberative spaces, conducting research and analysis on what does Earth4All mean for Kenya​, and developing scenario simulations and in-depth analysis​.
  2. Facilitating citizen engagement that comprises building alliances, stakeholder groups​ and drivingpublic engagement on future scenarios. ​
  3. Conducting advocacy workthat entail fostering a shift away from focus on GDP growth towards a wellbeing economy.
  4. Undertaking outreach and public campaigns for a just and sustainable economic system.

The event saw enthusiastic participation from an engaged audience, youth speakers sharing their views, the voices of those from marginalised communities being represented and a commitment for support from the relevant government directorate,’ Mariara added.

Stakeholders pledge their commitment

In a submitted memorandum, John Olela, the Director of the Government of Kenya’s Sustainable Development Goals Coordination Directorate, affirmed the government’s support and commitment to participate in the Earth4All initiative. He also added that the government is committed to ensuring inclusion and is currently implementing the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda in Kenya that aims at leaving no one behind while delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

The youth speakers highlighted the importance of listening to communities, learning from their indigenous knowledge and speaking to them in the language they understand.  

Lynn Modester, a youth climate worker said:

As a young person who has worked with different communities in climate change, my view is that we need to build back to the basics. The first basic of building economic systems that are mostly climate resilient and create an Earth4All is to ensure we are able to feed our own people, meet their basic needs of food, shelter and health.

For this, we need to incorporate the indigenous voices, knowledge and solutions of communities into policy systems. This needs a lot of capacity building and a mindset change. We need to listen to and invest in the people we are working with and overcome the language barriers while doing so.

Following this, Dora Okeyo who works at Global Partners for Development echoed Lynn’s point about overcoming language barriers.

I work with communities in Turkana county. There we have not broken down what carbon credit or carbon finance is in the local language. I do not speak the language of the communities I work with but I respect their culture. For instance, in Turkana, the men and elders speak first and I respect that in order to work with them. Only when we do so, will we be able to communicate with these local communities to bring change.

Watch the full discussion: https://youtu.be/R7WZp3CUBlY?si=qGyMkNsoRZnHp5oJ

As PEP leads the first national level engagement strategy for Earth4All in Africa, it offers a unique opportunity for paving the way for further multilateral and international cooperation as well as upscaling its model to other African countries.

This news article was first published by Partnership for Economic Policy.

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