Kenyan counties will tap into Sh7.3 billion in grants under a Treasury-backed programme set up to fund climate resilience projects.
The allocation under the Financing Locally Led Climate Action (FLLoCA) programme launched by President William Ruto on Monday follows the disbursement of Sh979 million in institutional strengthening grants to counties in the previous fiscal year.
The Sh7.3 billion will be distributed among the 44 counties that have met the FLLoCA minimum performance conditions, with each county’s share determined based on its performance score.
To qualify for funding, counties were required to establish climate finance institutions, including a county climate change fund and county climate change unit, and conduct participatory climate risk assessments at the ward level.
Additionally, counties were mandated to allocate 1.5 per cent of their development budget to the County climate change fund, resulting in a total allocation of Sh3 billion in the current financial year.
According to the Treasury, three counties—Nairobi, Kiambu and Mombasa —failed to put in place a climate change action, did not dedicate at least 1.5 percent of their development budgets to climate adaptation and also failed to undertake a Participatory Climate Risk Assessment (PCRA) at the ward level.
“In the first phase, the 44 counties received Sh22 million each as an institutional support grant to lay the groundwork,” said Peter Odhengo, the head of climate finance and the green economy at the Treasury and the FLLoCA programme.
In 2021, Kenya and the World Bank launched the project at COP 26 in Glasgow.
It will run for 10 years. Ninety percent of the funding was targeted for spending at the county and community levels to ensure that support for climate resilience reaches those most at risk, including women, youth, disabled persons, elders, and other marginalised groups.
The remaining 10 percent was to cover administrative costs. At that time, only 33 counties had created climate funds within their development budgets and had local climate laws.
The FLLoCA programme, jointly managed by the National Treasury and Planning, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, and the Council of Governors receives support from national and county governments, as well as international partners such as the World Bank, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
FLLoCA was designed to build on the Kenya Accountable Devolution Programme, also funded by the World Bank.
It also builds on the work done by the Adaptation Consortium through the County Climate Change Funds that were set up in Isiolo, Garissa, Kitui, Makueni, and Wajir.
The funding aims to assist counties in developing and implementing tailored climate resilience strategies to address risks identified in crucial sectors like agriculture, water, and natural resource management.
Further, access to environmentally friendly technologies to deliver low carbon resilient development at both local and national levels.
President Ruto, while unveiling the programme, underscored its alignment with the bottom-up approach.
“We want counties to manage climate crisis from the bottom, right at the ward level. This will empower communities to monetise on opportunities and put young people at the centre of climate resilience. The programme has transitioned from its initial pilot phase to a full-scale operation, extending its reach to communities throughout Kenya,” he said.
Dr Ruto added that the programme views communities not just as victims of climate change, but as powerful agents in responding to the impacts of climate change.
“It has a focus on community-led climate action echoing my government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda,” he said.
Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya said that adequate and predictable climate finance is key for the implementation of climate action.
The CS further noted that more than 80 percent of the funds will flow directly to the devolved units at the ward level.
According to Ms Tuya, the government plans to plant 500 million trees in the next four months as part of supporting carbon sequestration.
“We are at a critical stage in our fight against climate change, and it is therefore critical to take bold, decisive action to safeguard our planet and its inhabitants. By strengthening local engagements, we are not only equipping citizens with the tools and knowledge to combat climate change but also inspiring the next generation of climate leaders,” Treasury and Economic Planning Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u said.
Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru underscored the importance of actively involving local communities in decision-making processes.
“The distribution of these grants represents a substantial milestone in Kenya’s journey towards climate resilience. Equipping communities and governments with the necessary tools, resources, and knowledge ensures that they are better prepared to confront the challenges posed by climate change, ushering in a future where resilience is paramount,” she said.