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Devolved Climate Adaptation Finance: An Opportunity for Vulnerable Counties in Kenya

At the National level, Kenya submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) - a commitment from countries before COP21 outlining what post 2020 climate actions they intend to take towards low carbon emission - to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where adaptation has been given equal prominence as mitigation; finalized the Climate Change bill (which is yet to be assented to) which proposes several institutional reforms to enhance coordination of climate change adaptation and mitigation and lastly the finalization of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

The Government of Kenya is also implementing the Climate Public Expenditure and Budget Review (CPEBR), which is expected to create a budget code to track climate, related finance.At the county level, five Arid and Semi-Arid Counties of Garissa, Isiolo, Kitui, Makueni, and Wajir are institutionalizing the County Climate Change Fund (CCCF), formerly known as the County Adaptation Fund (CAF) within their county structure by drafting and passing CCCF regulations and bills. This is to build their readiness to draw down climate finance from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and other climate finance sources, once the National Implementing Entities (NIE) have been accredited.

The Department of International Development (UKAID) is providing seed money to the CCCF through the Adaptation Consortium within the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA). The CAF approach was initially piloted in Isiolo County and its success lead to its replication to the other four other counties of Garissa, Kitui, Makueni and Wajir.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 CAF funding criteria.

The five counties are also taking advantage of the Kenya’s devolved system of governance to integrate climate change in their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP). Laws and regulations are being enacted to integrate climate change in their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) and county budgets to finance adaptation. The five counties have draft CCCF bills and regulations and have already presented them to their respective county assemblies for approval.

The approval will ensure that the structure adopted is fully owned by the county government and can be funded from the county budget. The CCCF bills and regulations recognize the participatory role of the communities in determining their prioritized investments.Isiolo, Makueni, Kitui and Garissa are making good progress with mainstreaming climate change in their budgets with the four counties allocating KES 30, 15, 15 and 15 Million respectively for climate change related activities in the financial year 2015/16.

The communities through the ward level adaptation committee will be directly responsible for prioritizing these budgetary allocation and then involved in the subsequent implementation and monitoring of the investments.The CCCF approach, currently being replicated in Mali and Senegal, is the only fund in Kenya that gives the local community the power to prioritize investment that build their resilience to climate change.

Its success 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. Once the bills/regulations are enacted the CCCF will continue building the counties’ capacities both legally and financially to be able to manage and access both the international and local funding making them ready to function as subnational executing entities for GCF.

The GCF is expected to raise to USD 20billion yearly by 2020.