Kenya is highly vulnerable to climate change, in large part because the livelihoods and economic activities of most Kenyans rely on climate-sensitive natural resources. Building resilience to climate change is therefore high on the agendas of both national and county governments, especially the county governments in the arid and semi-arid lands that experience recurrent drought and flash flooding.
Five county governments—Garissa, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni and Wajir—have established County Climate Change Funds (CCCFs) that identify, prioritize and finance investments to reduce climate risk and achieve adaptation priorities. The CCCFs are aligned with national priorities set out in Kenya’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP), and enable these county governments to strengthen and reinforce national climate change policies while delivering on local adaptation priorities.
The CCCF model provides lessons on domestic public finance for implementation of NAPs, as discussed below:
- Clear mandates provide predictable climate finance – The CCCFs ensure a domestic revenue stream to finance adaptation that provides resource predictability for priority actions at the community level. Budget allocations to adaptation priorities are facilitated by clear mandates to prioritize climate change action at the county level. At the national level, the Climate Change Act mandates mainstreaming climate change in development plans and reporting on action. At the county level, climate change fund legislation mandates the allocation of a portion of development budgets to climate change.
- Devolved funds help deliver on NAP priorities – CCCFs deliver on Kenya’s NAP and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) by establishing county financing mechanisms for adaptation, mainstreaming climate change in county plans, and building the capacity of county governments and communities. They have also helped finance adaptation actions prioritized in the NAP, such as enhancing early warning and climate information services, enhancing water harvesting and conservation, and improving the resilience of the livestock sector. The reporting requirements of the national and county legislation will improve information flow and management, including the establishment of reporting frameworks and indicators for tracking budget allocations to and progress on NAP implementation.
- Climate finance is delivered where it is most needed: the local level – The allocation of 70 per cent of the CCCFs’ annual expenditures to finance local-level investments benefits vulnerable communities. Representative climate change planning committees at county and ward levels ensure the prioritization and delivery of locally appropriate and sustainable adaptation investments.
- Government commitment helps to attract international climate finance – The government commitment to provide domestic budget allocations to the CCCFs has helped to attract international climate finance. The Government of the United Kingdom provided seed funding and the Government of Sweden is stepping in to continue the CCCF program going forward. The national government is developing a proposal for submission to the Green Climate Fund to expand the model to additional counties.
- CCCFs improve climate resilience – Growing evidence shows that CCCFs have helped local communities to cope with ongoing drought in Kenya (2014–2017). The NDMA’s drought early warning system reported better-than-expected conditions for people and livestock in Isiolo in 2014 compared to neighbouring counties with similar rainfall conditions. The Isiolo climate change planning committee attributed this in part to the improved governance of the rangelands funded by the CCCF. In 2015, households in Isiolo communities with CCCF investments did not require food relief, which is partially attributed to CCCF investments coupled with other factors such as good veterinary practices and NDMA drought management efforts (Orindi, Elhadi & Hesse, 2017).
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