INTEGRATING CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES IN KENYAN COUNTY GOVERNMENTS
Climatic changes have intensified world over with developing countries being the worst hit. The ability to adapt to the changes is continually being eroded as the governments strive to develop and also tackle the new challenges climate change is posing. In Kenya, already vulnerable communities in the northern frontier’s ASAL areas have become much more susceptible to impacts of drought. The also an adaptive capacity as the main source of livelihood in this areas is livestock rearing which is burdening the already scarce natural resources. Other factors include limited per capita, poor financial and institutional capacity of their local governments.
Communities in this regions had long running traditions and practices that enabled them cope with drought e.g. nomadic lifestyle. The rise of new governance systems, policies and speedy development has eroded this practices. Recurrent droughts have reduced the amount of pasture available for a nomadic lifestyle.Efforts to address the impacts of climate change in Kenya has seen the ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2016,enactment of Climate Change Act of 2016 and currently the development of the climate change policy framework for 2018-2022.
Inorder to increase the resilience,adapt and mitigate climate change in Northern frontier communities,mainstreaming of climate change in local development plans is essential.Climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts should facilitate knowledge and information acquisition while also working with institutions and policies to ensure enabling environment for local adaptation efforts.County governments in collaboration with other stakeholders are therefore mandated to spearhead mainstreaming of climate change into the county development plans. Therefore they have to formulate regulations, policies and acts of the county assembly to provide a legislative environment for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties are among the hard hit by the impacts of climate change. Notably, they have been proactive since the beginning of devolution of government functions, towards putting policies in place to enable implementation of climate change programs. To support this endeavor, Green Africa Foundation is currently working on a project whose goal is to consolidate prior efforts towards completion of climate change legislation and cross sectoral coordination for enhanced climate change mainstreaming.
We are focusing on the above hardest hit counties. So far we have held four meetings as follows 3rd October 2017 in Garissa, 26th September in Mandera, 29th September in Wajir and 10th of October in Marsabit. The appraisal meetings are to ascertain the extent of climate change policy development, formulation and implementation in the counties.
By Gladys Gatiba. – Ass. Project Officer, Green Africa Foundation