For Kenya to sufficiently achieve its obligations under the Paris Agreement of 2015, there needs to be in place self-executing policies and implementation of local laws that relate to climate change. Major actors have to be the county governments.
The Climate Change Act of 2016, as amended in 2023, provides at Section 19 that County Governments have to take center space in implementation of reduction of GHG emissions. As to whether the National Government is under mandatory obligation to finance the Counties in this respect is a different discussion all together.
But counties have now to note that in every function that they undertake, then mainstreaming and integration of climate action plan is mandatory. All the counties are under duty to have a County Executive Committee Member (CEC) who is in charge of the docket pertaining to climate change. County Ministries, that are competently constituted are pivotal in running climate-change related action plans. To come up with such ministries, there needs to be Local Acts of the Assemblies that outline the structures of such ministries and the like. To point the importance of this, it is only the Climate Change Act that clearly specifies and directs Governors to appoint a CEC specifically for a defined office. This points to the seriousness of the office relating to climate change. Such appointments ought to be beyond political but rather competent based.
Since counties are located within areas that may have different needs to address, and located within different localities with divergent natural resources, the policies and or Acts that they come up with may be different. But the ultimate goal must be to contribute to GHG emissions.
Further, under the Climate Change Act, counties are directed to annually submit reports that reveal progresses made in implementing climate action plans within the counties.
All eyes will be on the counties to see how fast they learn on their obligations to implement the obligations that have been placed upon them by the Climate Change Act of 2016.
By; Thiong’o Gachaga,
Consultant, Climate Change & Environmental Governance
Githumbi Gachaga & Achoki Advocates, email@example.com