Five counties in Kenya have enacted laws that set aside between 1 and 2 per cent of their respective billion shilling annual development budgets towards climate change adaptation and resilience building.
Dubbed the County Climate Change Fund Regulations, the laws passed by the five county assemblies will help the devolved units mainstream climate change into their development planning and help vulnerable communities adapt to adverse weather patterns.
Kenya is among the countries regarded as vulnerable to climate change due to its dependence on climate-sensitive sectors such as rain-fed agriculture, tourism and hydropower generation.
The regulations are significant because they elevate the county governments into sub-national implementing entities capable of accessing and using climate finance including the Green Climate Fund which is set to rise to $100 billion (Ksh10 trillion) by 2020.
The five — Makueni, Wajir, Isiolo, Kitui and Garissa passed the regulations under the guidance of the Adaptation Consortium, a project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development and Swedish International Development Agency through the government’s National Drought Management Authority.
Isiolo, Wajir and Garissa in northern Kenya are completely arid while Kitui and Makueni in the lower eastern region are semi-arid.
The counties have an average annual budget of Ksh10 billion ($100 million) each, have set aside a minimum of one per cent of their development funds towards fighting global warming.
According to Victor Orindi, the CEO of the Adaptation Consortium, the laws provide a mechanism through which counties and vulnerable groups can use climate finance to build their resilience to the changing climate.
Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu recently imposed a ban on charcoal burning and sand harvesting to reverse wanton environmental destruction that has left her region exposed to prolonged droughts and famine.
The laws are timely because the five counties may be the first to benefit from Ksh500 million ($5 million)set aside by the Kenyan government in this year’s budget as initial capital to finance climate change innovation and mitigation.