Why devolving climate finance is good for locals

Climate Change illustration 


The news that Kenya is headed for devolved climate financing is great innovation in climate change mitigation.

According to the Council of Governors chairperson, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, devolved financing models for climate change adaptation piloted in Kenya have shown strong evidence of effectiveness. This is a well-thought out idea that is overdue.

First, local communities will get to be educated about climate change issues. It is becoming increasingly urgent that communities possess the capacity to respond to the effects of climate change and are represented in climate-relevant issues.

Education helps people to understand and address the impacts of the climate crisis, empowering them with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to act as agents of change. It is imperative to recognise the importance of education and training at the grassroot level to address climate change.

Secondly, communities will desist from practices that aggravate climate change. Using chemicals to spray crops, inadequate land use and deforestation in agriculture are some of the community practices that have led to global warming. That is blamed for the consequent climate change impacts like the increase in global temperature and sea level.

Most vulnerable

Thirdly, local communities are the most vulnerable to climate change effects. The impacts disrupt the natural, economic and social systems communities depend on. That affects food supplies and, by extension, industry supply chains and financial markets, damage infrastructure and homes and harm human health and development.

The current El Nino rains underscore local communities’ vulnerability to climate change, which has led to more extreme weather patterns. The reported flooding around the country underscores the intensifying climate risks. Deluge in the northeastern, coastal, eastern and other regions has uprooted scores of homes, decimated hundreds of acres of farmland and killed more than 100 people.

Fourth, it will encourage private sector participation as part of corporate social responsibility. Counties will have an opportunity to engage the private sector and such entities operating in their jurisdiction and afar on specific climate risks amongst the locals. They will help the firms to establish priorities and develop de-risking and resource mobilisation strategy for implementing climate solutions.

Devolving climate change financing will facilitate counties to access knowledge on these models and incorporate it to deliver what communities need to do: Respond to the risks of climate change. That will go a long way in minimising the impacts of climate change that undermine local and, by extension, national economic development and, more fundamentally, facilitating climate-vulnerable communities to lift themselves out of poverty.

- Dr Kapkiai, PhD, teaches statistics and research methods in education at Kisii University. [email protected].