Monday, July 15, 2013

Adaptation decision-making shifts to locals in Kenya

Thomson Reuters Foundation: A new series of pilot projects in Northern Kenya will place greater decision-making powers about climate change adaptation into the hands of community members – a move backers hope will create sustainable solutions for area farmers and pastoralists.

In the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, crop farmers and mobile pastoralists live within the same areas but have very distinct lifestyles. Until now, climate change planning systems implemented by a centralized government have mainly ignored those differences.

But with Kenya’s new constitution published in 2010, local governments now have more autonomy. The new pilot projects, implemented by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Christian Aid and CARE, aim to translate this power shift to an even more local level.

A Climate Adaptation Fund (CAF) will be set up this year in Garissa, Isiolo and Kitui Counties, with additional counties joining over the next three years. Regional decision makers will then determine the best way to disperse CAF money for climate adaptation projects, based on what their communities say they need.

In Isiolo County, for instance, pastoralists rely on the Boran dedha system of rotating grazing lands, in which some areas are grazed while others are reserved for times of drought. The system relies on community consensus and enforcement by local institutions, both of which have degraded over time, said James Pattison, a consultant for IIED who has worked on the project since 2009...

Maasai pastorlists in Kenya, shot by ILRI, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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