Kenya’s top counties – which host the country’s two premier cities – will not be receiving grant monies meant for climate change activities.
The other 45 counties are poised to get at least Sh135 million each to undertake proposed ward-level projects to combat climate change. To receive the money – known as the climate change resilience investment grant (CCIR) – every county must satisfy particular criteria.
Thomas Lerenten, the deputy director in charge of climate change adaptation at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry says, “Each county must have developed and adopted a climate change Act.”
Both Nairobi and Mombasa, he said, are yet to have an act in place to direct and inform their climate change efforts.
Lerenten spoke to The Standard on the sidelines of the International Summit on Multilevel Governance of Climate Change Adaptation held in Nairobi last week.
The summit was organised by the National Adaptation Plan Global Network (NAPGN): an organisation supporting developing countries to respond and adapt effectively to the effects of climate change.
Janet Ahatho, Marsabit County Director for Environment and Climate Change, said her county will earnestly action its proposals upon receiving the grant.
“Marsabit is the most affected county in Kenya by climate change. Drought and floods have become more intense.
“Majority – about 81 per cent – of our people keep livestock for a living. The recent drought, which just ended in 2022, cost us over 90 per cent of our livestock.
“And now we have been told to prepare for El Nino: which will most likely cause havoc by sweeping away the livestock.
“As a directorate, our focus will be on carrying out the plans that we have set to make our citizens more resilient to climate change,” she said.
According to Ahatho, Marsabit has satisfied the requirements to receive its funds by developing the Marsabit County Climate Change Fund Act of 2020.
“The fund receives 2 per cent of the county’s development budget: which is then used to carry out the plans captured in Marsabit County Climate Change Adaptation Policy of 2019.”
CCIR is part of a World Bank program known as Financing Locally-Led Climate Action (FLLoCA): which is implemented by Treasury and is executed in two phases.
The first phase of FLLoCA saw 45 counties receive Sh22 million – known as climate change institutional support grant (CCIS) – to do capacity building and set up systems as well as design to carry out actual climate change solutions.
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“This summit is important because we are sharing ideas and comparing notes between some global-south countries to determine what works and what doesn’t,” said Mauricio Luna, the Policy Advisor to NAPGN.
For Marsabit county, what would work, Ahatho noted, would be solutions such as dams, “medium-sized dams for multiple usages (human, livestock and Irrigation), climate-smart technologies, livestock investment, rangeland/landscape restoration, green energy technologies, and provision of grants to cooperatives, among others.”
The summit was attended by (other than Kenyan delegates) national and sub-national government officials from Belize, the Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, e’ Swatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tuvalu, and Zimbabwe.
They exchanged experiences and lessons on vertical integration of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) in their own countries.
NAPs were developed by developing countries to identify priority areas, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“In Kenya, vertical integration has seen our NAP domesticated by every county,” says Lerenten. The counties would go further and establish village units that would champion local solutions.
Marsabit has established Ward Climate Change Committees in all its wards. Ahatho says: “The wards identify a solution and draft a report that goes to the county climate change committee, which evaluates the proposal.
“If satisfied, the county committee then sends the report to the Steering Committee – where the governor sits. If they agree that indeed the project would offer a solution, funding is released, and the normal government procurement procedures follow,” Ahatho says.
“Before full payment is done the ward committee would do a report to confirm that the contractor met expectations of the project.”
Nairobi and Mombasa, Lerenten says, are at different stages of getting their own domesticated climate change Acts. Once they are ready they will receive their CCIS grant money.
Even so, the two counties won’t be receiving the CCIR grants afterwards.
The climate change monies are important right now because of the impending heavy rains. The money would possibly go in mitigating some of the effects of the Nino.