Recognition of the potential for climate information to support sustainable development, enhance preparedness, protect lives and support production has greatly increased. This has led to a growing focus on developing climate information and services that can better support decision making at all levels, including at national, county and sub-county levels, amongst those people whose lives and livelihoods are directly impacted by climate.

In Kenya, the decentralisation of meteorological services has afforded an opportunity to develop climate services tailored to the specific and different needs of each County. In support of this process, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) has developed a framework for coproducing County Climate Information Service (CIS) Plans together with key stakeholders from across County Government, technical services and agencies, livelihood and social groups.

Through building an understanding of the specific types of climate information that decision makers need, when they need the information, what format and language they need it to be provided in, and when and how they need to receive it, the County CIS Plan maps out how climate information can best support the people in the County in addressing the climate-related, socio-economic challenges that they face. The development of the County CIS Plan was initiated by the Adaptation Consortium in 2013, when plans for five arid and semi-arid Counties were developed.

The County CIS Plan approach was adopted by KMD and subsequently scaled up within the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme’s Decentralised Climate Information Services for Decision Making in Western Kenya (WISER Western) project for nine counties in the Lake Victoria region. Based on learning developed through these two projects, both funded by the UK Government Department for International Development (DfID), this toolkit aims to

(a) Support scaling-up within Kenya, to develop a County CIS Plan for each County, and

(b) Document and share transferable learning on the process to support complementary initiatives seeking to develop decentralised climate services in the region and more widely.

This toolkit maps out six key steps in the process of developing a sub-state climate information services plan:

  1. Understanding the roles of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) staff supporting decentralized climate services
  2. Undertaking a technical assessment of existing observation networks and data sources and reviewing the current development and communication of climate information products.
  3. Identifying the climate information needs of key stakeholders across County Administration and amongst the County’s principal livelihood groups
  4. Drafting the County CIS Plan
  5. Reviewing and finalising the County CIS Plan with key stakeholders and planning implementation, monitoring, evaluation and regular review of the County CIS Plan
  6. Implementing the plan.

Each step is supported by a module comprising an introductory overview, followed with one or more practical exercises and approaches through which the County Directors of Meteorological Services (CDMS), or NHMS staff supporting decentralized services, can gather the information required to complete the County-specific, or local, input required. The exercises and approaches are illustrated with examples drawn from the development of County CIS Plans from across a range of Kenyan Counties.

The toolkit is designed to be used in conjunction with a template that includes both generic text, appropriate for all County contexts, and highlights areas which require County-specific input. Use of the toolkit in another country requires the development of a complementary template for developing decentralized climate services.

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