Localizing Climate Change Efforts in Kenya: The Role of County Governments

Kenya's 7th Annual Devolution Conference will focus on Climate Action

Kenya’s 2010 Constitution triggered a major re-organization of the country’s public sector, devolving considerable power and functions from the National Government to 47 newly established County Governments.

The Council of County Governors (COG) plays an important role in intergovernmental coordination under the devolved system. The Council of Governors was established as a non-partisan organization under Section 19 of the Intergovernmental Relations Act (2012), comprising the Governors of the forty-seven Counties. COG provides a mechanism for consultation amongst County Governments, shares information on the performance of the counties in execution of their functions, facilitate capacity building for Governors, and considers reports from other intergovernmental forums on national and county interests amongst other functions.

Among its various activities, COG hosts an annual Devolution Conference, inviting representatives from County Governments as well as National Government to discuss important policy issues. The last six conferences have focused on various issues with a key focus on the devolution journey. The 7th Annual Devolution Conference will be held from May 3-7, 2021 with a focus on Climate Action, in particular, the impact and the role of sub-national Governments in Climate Action.

The focus on climate action has been necessitated by the adverse impact of climate change in socio-economic development in Kenya. This has resulted in poor living conditions in some areas, occurrence of floods, drought, unregulated release of industrial wastes and increased burden in health. National and County Governments have a responsibility to ensure that these issues are dealt with and that the population is food secure, that the use of natural resources is sustainable. Furthermore, National and County Governments have a responsibility to ensure the provision of affordable and quality healthcare, job opportunities are created and that sustainable waste management practices are employed both by government and private sector.

The conference will be critical in ensuring that sub-national Governments both local, regional and across the globe have a platform to discuss and deliberate on their role and how they can unlock opportunities to turn around the climate change effects in the communities. Given the increasing nature-related hazards like floods, landslides among others facing Kenyans, it is time we saw concerted actions to legislate, fund and enforce climate-smart strategies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at sub-national and national levels.

Main Objective. Strengthening Sub-national governments to act on climate change and develop stronger mitigation capacities.

Specific Objectives of the 7th Annual Devolution Conference. The objectives of this conference will include among other things, to:

  1. Enable County Governments to demonstrate bold climate leadership;
  2. To deliberate on the impact of climate change mitigation measures;
  3. To deliberate on how to strengthen Kenya’s capacity to develop a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory;
  4. Provide a platform for government and private sector to commit on climate action strategies to be undertaken for the next year; and
  5. Mobilize two million trees to be planted in the host county before and during the conference.

More information on Kenya’s 7th Annual Devolution Conference:

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