Kenya – The new climate change policy and action plan of Isiolo to build resilience and improve lives
Isiolo County, in Kenya, extends over a largely arid and semi-arid area of about 25,700 square kilometres. Its people’s strength is in herding animals. Over time, rising temperatures, extended droughts and rainfall variability associated with global climate change have put their grasslands under pressure, leaving communities struggling to adapt to weather related challenges. “Despite the grass having matured, it is rotting because of too much water, which leads to pasture shortage”, says Boru Jarso, pastoralist from Isiolo.
This increasing unpredictability makes good planning more important than ever, and especially at the county level to address specific local needs and identify long-term solutions to recurrent climate hazards.
The Intra-ACP GCCA+ Climate Support Facility (CSF) has supported Isiolo to develop a County Climate Change Policy and Action Plan, with a view to ensuring the effective and efficient implementation of local climate change actions and the operationalisation of the Climate Change Fund Act 2018 .
The overall goal of this policy and plan has been to build resilient communities and natural systems to steer Isiolo County towards a low carbon pathway for sustainable development. This will contribute towards achieving the Isiolo County vision of a secure, just, integrated, and prosperous area where all can enjoy the full potential and high quality of life.
Through this initiative, the Intra-ACP GCCA+ has helped to increase technical capacities of the County government and key local stakeholders for policy development, planning, and assessing climate change risk and vulnerability.
The process was participatory in nature and involved stakeholders from National and County government, civil society organisations, state agencies, community representatives, and community-based organisations. Key stakeholders engaged at the community level included area chiefs, members of the ward planning committees, water management representatives, women, youths, herders, and religious leaders, among others.
“Grassroots people made their own strategy to deal with climate change. They planned, prioritised and also mapped disasters. Different parts of the county have different contexts, so when context specific projects are designed, such as a coping strategy, they will be refined and also more sustainable” says Lucy Ikiara, County Executive Committee (CEC), Environment Isiolo County.
The policy and plan build on all the efforts that Kenya and Isiolo County have made to achieve sustainable development and combat climate change in the past, starting with Kenya’s First National Communication, sectoral plans included since the formulation of the County Integrated Development Plan 2013-2017, the Low Carbon Development Strategy espoused in Kenya’s Second National Communication (2015), the Climate Change Policy Framework 2017, Kenya National Adaptation Plan 2015-2030, Isiolo County Integrated Development Plan 2018-2022, Isiolo County Climate Change Regulations 2019, Isiolo County Climate Risk Profile, the country’s 2010 Constitution, and its Vision 2030, among the main references.
The success of developing a climate change policy and plan in Isiolo County to build resilience and improve the lives of its inhabitants there is worth replicating in other counties.
- The intervention has helped to strengthen the climate change policy framework at the county level and mainstream climate change actions into the County’s development planning, budgeting and intersectoral coordination of climate change issues.
- Climate finance mechanisms in the County were enhanced.
- Community-initiated climate change adaptation and mitigation activities were facilitated and improved.
- Main activities undertaken included desk review and preparatory work, key informant stakeholder engagements (with 108 key informants), 1st stakeholder engagement workshop (with 54 participants), field visit to three sub-counties (Merti, Garbatula, Isiolo), 2nd stakeholder workshop (with 37 participants), and draft of a Climate Change Policy and Action Plan for Isiolo County.