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Enactment of County Climate Change Fund Legislation: An Opportunity for Vulnerable Counties in Kenya

The Makueni County regulation was gazetted on the 15th September 2015 and with the gazettement, the county government is set to access KES 50 million for Climate Change adaptation and resilience building as seed money from DFID. The regulations will enable the county government access climate finance from a variety of sources including the county budget, which are then prioritized by local communities to fund investments that build their resilience to climate change.In Isiolo, the executive arm of the county government already approved the County Climate Change Fund (CCCF) Bill, which was subsequently subjected to public hearing in October 2015.

The next step is tabling the Bill in the county assembly after incorporating input from stakeholders during the public hearing. In Wajir and Garissa, the draft bills have been approved by the executive and now await approval by the respective county assemblies whereas in Kitui, the draft will be going back for approval by the executive in January 2015 after addressing the queries that were raised when it was tabled initially.

There has been a review of the CCCF regulations/bills to ensure they are informed by the local context, aligned to county systems and conform to Kenya’s public finance policies and laws. The draft laws also legally commit counties to contributing a minimum percentage of their development funds to CCCF, which will contribute to ensuring sustainability. As a show of commitment towards the CCCF, County governments of Kitui, Makueni, Garissa and Isiolo committed KES 15M, 15M, 2M and 30M respectively for the CCCF pot for use by Ward Adaptation Planning Committees (WAPCs) for the financial year 2015/2016.

The Isiolo County Department of Water has also approached the Ada to help them design the County Water & Irrigation, Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Sector strategic plan with the first meeting held in October 2015. The meeting highlighted the need to look at current and future climate risks as the plan is being developed.

In Kitui County, the CIDP was reviewed by the Socio-economic and budgeting forum where Ada is represented by Christian Aid while in Makueni, climate change has been included in the sectoral plans such as the Makueni Strategy Paper 2015/2016 that capture the budgets for Adaptation to climate change.The CCCF model conforms to the Constitution of Kenya where public participation is a core tenet of the fund.

Through the participatory approach, local communities are authorized to prioritize the type of public investments that will build their resilience to climate change. The communities’ priorities are captured in proposals developed by Ward-level Adaptation Committees and are assessed by the County-level Planning Committee who strengthens them in order to meet the CCCF funding criteria.

The success of CCCF shows that local communities working in partnership with the county governments have the ability to draw down and invest national and international climate funds for climate resilient development.

Implementing the County Climate Information Services (CIS) Plan

County Climate Information Services (CIS) Plans are strategies aimed at mainstreaming climate information at all levels within the county structure and processes by providing timely and relevant information to help in decision making at the county and household levels. The Kitui and Makueni County CIS plans are in place and being implemented with 2,000 CIS intermediaries trained to cover the two counties. Wajir, Isiolo, and Garissa CIS plans are in advance stage and they will be completed by December 2015. The total number of people reached with climate information stands at 269,053 households, this was made possible by the intermediaries who disseminated the information to the different households.

The consortium also invested in improving climate observation network in the five counties as part of a long-term strategy to improve on data availability for forecasting. The consortium provided five complete automated weather stations, 15 telemetry raingauges and 30 manual raingauges. This has enhanced the data collected and will contribute greatly in improving downscaling of climate forecasts going forward.

To improve understanding and use of CIS, the consortium translated the Meteorological terms from English to Kiswahili and Kikamba to improve the level of understanding, which is directly linked to the potential impact of CIS.Kiswahili is a national language commonly spoken in Kenya while Kamba language is used in Kitui and Makueni. The Kamba translation has been used by local radio stations in the two counties to help in disseminating CIS.

The achievements above have contributed significantly towards achievement of critical targeted climate change governance reforms at county and local levels, which is also recognised at the national level.