Kenya to spend more on Climate Change next year, says Devolution Conference

Delegates follow proceedings during the Seventh Annual Devolution Conference at Makueni County. The Conference tackled the issue of Climate Change. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Kenya is making efforts to de-escalate the brunt of climate change in the country.

County governments recently met for seventh Annual Devolution Conference.

Climate Change discussions dominated the event, which was held in Makueni.

It was attended by governors, senators, climate change activists, cabinet secretaries, non-governmental organizations and other people of diverse thoughts.

The theme of the conference was, “Multi-level Governance for Climate Action: Sub-National Mobilization in Unlocking the Full Potential of Climate Action During and After the Pandemic.

The conference offered a platform for the 47 counties to showcase their efforts on climate change and also exhibition their products and innovations.

Its main plenary sessions were forums for objective discussions around the subject and the breakaway sessions provided a more focused discussion.

Termed fruitful by different panelists, the annual conference, which shall henceforth be bi-annual, by consensus settled on 26 resolutions directly addressing climate change and other issues of national interest.

As described in the final joint Communiqué seen by Scholar Media Africa, on the battle against climate change, they resolved that:

Both levels of government (National and County governments) shall embrace cooperation, consultation coordination and collaboration to design and also implement practical policies, laws, regulations and action plans addressing climate change.

Strengthened intergovernmental consultations and effective joint efforts shall see this achieved.

They also agreed and firmly asserted that the need for environmental and natural resources conservation for the current and future generations is of unequalled importance.

In the next budgeting cycle, both levels of government resolved to increase resource allocation towards mitigation and adaptation strategies.

This will allow for enough preparedness and response by County Governments towards impacts of climate change and the pandemic.

On that, “Both levels of government shall build on the robust public finance management legal framework to ring-fence public funds for climate change action, ensure more equitable distribution of resources for climate action and timely availability of the funds to County Governments and other institutions involved in climate action, ” the final joint communiqué reads in part.

Further, they settled on the need to not only encourage but also to nurture honest dialogue on climate change within the country’s political discourse.

“The Conference urges political parties to include issues of adaptation and mitigation to climate change in their party and election manifestos, ” the communiqué adds.

Political parties and elected leaders are expected to take action on that.

In collaboration with private sector, civil society organizations and development partners, county governments shall strengthen and create multi-hazard early warning systems.

This will enhance joint participation to plan on disaster management.

Cognizant of the potential lying within every member of the society, the Conference agreed to promote and increase transparency and accountability at all levels.

A fair participation of all stakeholders: youth, women, PWDs, marginalized communities and minorities in development, implementation and evaluation of policies shall see their needs and opinions incorporated in the fight against climate change.

In addition, both levels of government shall integrate and mainstream gender responsive and inclusive climate action policies, legislation, strategies and initiatives.

Climate change, having largely affected the economy of the country and lowered Kenya’s GDP by almost 3%, poses a bigger challenge to the agricultural sector.

In response, the county and national governments agreed to “design and implement public-private partnerships in a manner that can create conducive ecosystems for digital opportunities to enhance farmer access to information, market opportunities and innovate for solutions of future anticipated challenges in the agriculture sector that are gender responsive and inclusive.”

With climate-instigated floods and drought having robbed our country of its beauty and affected tourism, County Governments were encouraged to diversify tourism attractions, promote and encourage domestic tourism.

This would incorporate local communities into tourism and wildlife conservation efforts.

The same counties, in the next one year, shall formulate climate change-related policies to form legal frameworks for rolling out projects and programs related to climate change.

Counties participation in public-private partnerships on climate change shall aso be based on these legal frameworks.

Counties are allowed to borrow from one another, apply what has worked for others and evade approaches which cannot work.

Counties were encouraged to partner with Maarifa Center for information sharing, documentation, capacity building and peer learning.

Transformative and innovative models by counties shall be adopted by others.

To have a shoulder to lean on, County Governments shall use their respective Regional Economic Blocs to achieve climate change commitments and enhance climate action.

For all these resolutions, as per the agreement, the Senate shall set up a Senate Climate Action Committee to be in charge of climate change affairs.

Kenyans hope that the county governments will join hands with the national government and act on climate change before things get out of hand.

Related: How Can Counties Fight Climate Change at the Grassroots?

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Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature.


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