Climate change has been a global agenda for decades, various countries have made efforts to domesticate the adaptation and mitigation efforts to avert effects of climate change. Kenya is one of the countries that has made major strides in climate change especially developing a climate change law and developing a policy and institutional framework around climate change.
The general elections in Kenya have just been concluded and the country is in the process of setting a development agenda for the next five years both at the national and the county governments level.
This will be the second phase of the full implementation of devolution in Kenya. The first phase of devolution was implemented without clarity on what the needs of the county governments were in various sectors and this was especially true in regard to climate change. The second phase will be important due to the learnings that have been picked coupled with the progress the country has made especially with the Climate Change Act in place, a department under the national government dedicated to climate change and a national climate change policy.
As the County Governments develop the integrated development plans for the second phase of devolution there are various issues that will be important to look into regarding climate change and the role that the county governments play in contributing to the national mitigating and adaptation efforts. Some of the roles of the county governments that relate to climate change include control of air pollution, implementation of the natural resources and environmental conservation policies and agriculture, which is a fully devolved function. Besides these are functions that relate to water management that the county governments are responsible for. In developing the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) for 2018 to 2022, it will be fundamental for the county governments to assess what the performance of the various aspects of climate change has been in the last five years and how this can be enhanced or improved to ensure the CIDPs factor climate change as one of the main cross cutting issues in the county development agendas.
Kenya’s economy is largely dependent on its natural resource base thus climate change cannot be ignored.
The pertinent issues in integrating climate change in the county development agenda will be looking into the successes in climate change in the last five years of implementing devolution, the lessons learnt and looking at the opportunities for the county government. One of the main advantages the county governments are enjoying at this point is climate change being one of the crosscutting issues under the Medium Term Plan III (MTPIII). This means even as the county governments develop the CIDPs which have to be guided by the National policies and in this case the MTPIII, then they have guidelines on how to include the climate change agenda in their development blue prints.
The success of the mitigation and adaptation to climate change will be based on the efforts from the various institutions both in the private and the public sector. The county governments are the implementing agents of the national development agenda and are best placed to implement programs and projects that are aimed at responding to the effects of climate change. The players in the climate change space now have a responsibility to support the county governments in their adaptation and mitigation efforts. The private sector has a responsibility to enlighten the county governments on climate friendly options in the various sectors and also create programs that could be co-financed by the county governments and the private sector to promote climate change solutions in all sectors.
By Sarah Makena