Community adaptation funds in the Kenyan drylands
Effective governance of natural resources is crucial for adaptive capacity and climate-resilient growth. Climate change will hit dryland communities early and severely because it exacerbates existing structural causes of poverty and inequality. Poor governance and exclusion of local voices (particularly from planning and managing of use of natural resources) has eroded pastoralist communities’ distinctive capacity to adapt. But building on Kenya’s new Constitution, a devolved Climate Adaptation Fund is being piloted in Isiolo County in Kenya’s arid and semiarid lands (ASALs). The fund is managed by local government and supports locally prioritised adaptation investments.
In the 4-page IIED briefing paper “Ensuring devolution supports adaptation and climate resilient growth in Kenya”, Ced Hesse and James Pattison argue that devolved adaptation funding is the best way to harness local knowledge in support of climate-resilient development. However, achieving this takes time, investment and involvement from a range of stakeholders, to build shared understanding about adaptation priorities and a more harmonised approach to planning. Providing climate information can help reduce climate impacts, but only if communities and other planners can act on it in a coordinated and timely way. It is vital that adaptation is planned at appropriate scales and is not restricted by administrative boundaries. Such Community Adaptation Funds can integrate local adaptive strategies and innovations into national policy, providing insights that could also help reform development planning elsewhere in the drylands.