Comprehensive Capacity Building on Climate Change and REDD+ National REDD+ Academy in Kenya

National REDD+ Academy training events use the methodology and expertise codified in the UNREDD Programme’s REDD+ Academy curriculum to build capacity and understanding of key REDD+ stakeholders on REDD+ implementation through a long-term and sustainable learning experience, adapted to the specific circumstances of each country. Experiences from other countries shows that training stakeholders in REDD+ presents an opportunity to build much needed capacities for stakeholders in the country to build and sustain essential accelerated implementation of REDD+. To that effect, Kenya hosted the National Academy in November 2019 with over 63 participants (29 were  women and 34 men) including representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Indigenous Peoples and Forest Dependent Communities, Kenya Government Ministries Agencies (national and county levels), Constitutional Commissions and  Research & Academic Institutions.


UNDP, jointly with UNEP and FAO, increased and reinforced the capacities of stakeholders involved in REDD+ as ToTs – Trainers of Trainers, as they play a vital role in the conservation and sustainable management of forests. Further, these key stakeholders such as the indigenous peoples and forest community dwellers possess traditional knowledge that will eventually contribute to the REDD+ process, more so conservation forests and biodiversity. The TOTs will be called upon to provide training and deliver courses on REDD+ to other stakeholder groups as needed.  As such, after the training every institution is responsible with developing a training plan on how to deliver the REDD+ training to their respective constituencies.


In her opening remarks, The Principle Secretary for Environment, Betty Maina  stated that, “We (Kenya) have been undertaking forest related activities in the country for a long time but a lot of us have been aware that a lot of these strategies haven’t worked as intended. And therefore, it is important as we deliver a new strategy (National REDD+ Strategy) we begin to think on how to do things differently.”



National Project Coordinator for the REDD+ Readiness Project Alfred Gichu re-emphasized that “as a country we made a commitment to contribute to the global agenda on climate change response.” The Government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has placed mechanisms and incentives to manage and conserve forests sustainably to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to meet national targets of increasing forest cover to 10% and over – as stipulated in the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2018 – 2023, which forms the implementation framework of the Nationally Determined (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.


The REDD+ Academy had been widely covered in the press and on social media channels, which led to increased visibility of the REDD+ process in Kenya calling for urgent collective action to combat climate change and its impacts. Further, it positioned UNDP’s commitment to Kenya in tackling climate change issues. As Walid Badawi UNDP RR stated, “Climate change as you know presents the most compelling development challenges of our day. The recently held climate summit in New York served to amplify the message of urgency that climate change is the defining issue of our time.”


Since the REDD+ Academy, two additional trainings have taken place one conducted by the Council of Governors Chief Officers and the other one led by the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) Commissioners for its senior staff. So far, 147 participants have been trained on the REDD+ process from the two trainings, with attention given to engagement with indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities as these groups play a key role in the conversation and sustainable management of forests.   Representatives of Indigenous peopple who participated in the training shared their personal experiences from this event: “My expectation was to learn new things or more ideas of what REDD+ is. I had not really gotten information about the national forest management system which is something I came to learn here and Financing System in REDD+. I didn’t know what to expect but I am happy with the experience and the knowledge I have acquired. Specifically, I have learned a lot about FREL and the REDD+ Investment Plan” Milka Chepko – Women Representative of the Sengwer Indigenous People

“To indigenous people specifically in Kenya, it (REDD+ Academy) has addressed many pertinent issues for them. Specifically, is the understanding of indigenous people in Kenya.” Elijah Toirai – Indigenous People Representative – Pastoralist

The REDD+ Academy is a coordinated REDD+ capacity development initiative to deliver REDD+ on the ground and to empower potential REDD+ champions with the requisite knowledge and skills to promote the implementation of national REDD+ activities – a critical delivery tool for countries engaged in REDD+ readiness phase. The Ministry of Environment in partnership with UNDP are implementing the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) REDD+ Readiness Project in Kenya which aims at supporting the country’s efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable climate resilient economic growth. The REDD+ Readiness Project is supporting the government with the Greening Initiative of increasing tree growth and meeting national targets of 10% and more forest cover.


By Christabel Chanda Ginsberg– Communications and KM Specialist REDD+ Project