ISLA and KELIN seeks to intervene as joint amici in a case challenging Kenya’s legal obligation to mitigate against climate change

On 27 September 2023, the Environment and Land Court at Iten heard ISLA and KELIN’s joint application to intervene in Kituo cha Sheria & another v The Attorney General & Others (Iten Elc Petition No E002 of 2022 (ISLA & KELIN as joint amici).

The case challenges the failure of the Kenyan government to fulfil its legal obligation to take measures to adapt to the effects of climate change and mitigate the impacts  of climate change in relation to Rift Valley Basin. The petitioners’ in this case claim that owing to the failure of the government to provide a sufficient response to climate change and mitigate its impact thereof, they have suffered acute climate vulnerability which has affected various aspects of their lives including health, source of livelihoods, and their natural habitation.

One of the question the court is being called upon in the case to determine is whether or not the State has fulfilled its obligation adequately in mitigating against climate change. This case is important because the court is being called upon to determine how and the extent women are impacted by climate change. Therefore, ISLA and KELIN’s intervention as amicus shall assist the court in answering this question by providing to the court information on the link between women socio-economic rights and climate change, the gendered impact of climate change and its effect on women.

The application was opposed by the Attorney General and the National Environmental Management Authority who told the court that ISLA and KELIN were raising new factual issues not within the petition and were biased and in favour of the petitioners.

In response, ISLA and KELIN submitted that it was the role of an amicus not to reagitate what the parties have raised but bring to the court novel issue not raised by the parties. Accordingly, they intended to develop the joint amici brief to establish the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and using international and comparative law demonstrate the existing state obligations, the applicable legal standards and principles on adaptation to effects and impact of climate change to ensure the protection of women socio-economic rights. And that these issues were within the petition and were purely legal arguments and not factual issues.

Further, the applicants submitted that they were impartial and neutral, not aligned to any of the parties, had no specific interest in the outcome of the petition and played no role in advancing or defending the petition. The only interest was on the advancement of the law and developing jurisprudence that ensures the protection and advancement of women socio-economic rights in the context of climate change.

ISLA and KELIN believe that by intervening, they have an opportunity to redirect the court’s thinking around how and why women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the violations that they suffer when climate change programmes do not appropriately respond to women’s lived experiences, realities and specific needs. In the end, the information shall assist  the court in nuancing the state obligations and formulate appropriate remedies that take into account the effects and impact of climate change on women thus arrive at a just and fair determination of the petition.

The court shall make a ruling on the application on 25 October 2023.


For more information or enquiries contact:

Nyokabi Njogu

Advocate for the joint amici


Carolene Kituku

Advocate for the joint amici

ISLA Women’s Socio-economic Rights Lawyer

Email: Carolene