Nandi County Government is set to be among the 1st counties to develop a climate change action plan in Kenya. Wetlands ecosystems have not been spared from negative impacts of climate change. One such ecosystem is Kingwal wetland located in Nandi County of Western Kenya, an important breeding and feeding habitat for Grey Crowned Crane. Kingwal wetland is among four project sites of the Kenya Crane and Wetlands Conservation Project implemented under the ICF/EWT/CANCO partnership. The other project sites are Kipsaina, Sio Siteko, and Lake OL Bolossat.
Prolonged droughts and flooding are among climate change related impacts adversely impacting Kingwal wetland and survival of Grey Crowned Cranes. Prolonged droughts has seen the wetland being used as dry season grazing reserve, contributing to opening up of the wetland due to heavy presence of livestock. Besides degradation of the wetland, heavy presence of livestock, and at times dogs that accompany herders disturb breeding and feeding cranes. Flooding on the other hand has resulted to crane nests being washed away.
Developed over a five month period (February to June 2018) with ICF/EWT/CANCO contribution, through Green Belt Movement, a local partner, the vision of Nandi County Climate Change Action plan is “A prosperous County that is resilient to climate change, with a low carbon economy contributing to sustainable development of Kenya”. Its goal is to “Strengthen Nandi County’s adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change, and promote sustainable development as a mitigation strategy for the wellbeing of human and ecological systems”. The action plan has the following strategic objectives;
• Increase food security through sustainable production systems that guarantees ecosystems integrity.
• Mainstream climate change adaptation in the environment sector for resilient ecological and human systems.
• Enhance water security for climate change resilience
• Invest in a resilient energy system through an energy generation mix for sustainable development
• Support realization of Climate resilient infrastructure
• Promote public awareness, innovation and development of appropriate technologies and capacity that promote climate resilient development
• Promote Sustainable financing for climate change action through resource mobilization
• Enhance governance and coordination of climate change adaptation and mitigation
• Strengthen adaptive capacity of vulnerable groups* (women, orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly, and persons with disability) through adoption of a rights based approach.
The Climate Change Act 2016, and the National Adaptation plan of Kenya 2015-2030, among others, require County Governments to integrate and mainstream climate change actions, interventions and duties into County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), budgeting and implementation structures for realizing equitable sustainable development.
The action plan, which mainstreams adoption of ecosystem based adaptation approach, provides a good starting point for collective stakeholder action to conserve fragile ecosystems such as wetlands and threatened biodiversity such as Grey Crowned Crane and Sitatunga antelope. It serves as a vehicle for ensuring coordinated delivery of obligations required of the Nandi County and its stakeholders, the priority being to build climate resilience in as low carbon a manner as possible to ensure Nandi County and the country at large contributes to the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Having sailed through the critical stage of stakeholder validation, held on 18th June 2018, the action plan is now set to be tabled for discussion in the county assembly for final endorsement.
Article by Rudolf Makhanu