UNEP and GIZ, together with the Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya, and the ICCA as the national technical institution lead, have been working together for the past two years or so on operationalising the green economy transition in Kenya. This is part of the wider initiative of the joint GIZ-UNEP project “Operationalizing Green Economy Transition in Africa: Status of green economy initiatives in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda” which seeks to complement national efforts in selected countries in Africa in transforming their economies towards efficient and competitive engines that reduce poverty and do not threat the environment. UNEP defines a green economy as one that results in “improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”. In its simplest expression, a green economy is low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive, where growth in income and employment are driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The project supports the selected countries by developing key planning and management tools for Green Economy at the sub-national and local level, building the capacity of local governments and other relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector, supporting pilot demonstrations and developing an appropriate national framework for replication. The draft Medium Term Plan (MTP II) of the Government of Kenya acknowledges that the growth strategy of the country embraces measures to ensure a greener economy and that the economy is put on a low carbon trajectory. The Government of Kenya was supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in cooperation with UNEP, UNDP, WWF, DFiD, GIZ and ILO, to prepare a Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP, 2015).
Two pilot Counties, Mombasa and Nakuru, were selected to document the status of the Green Economy in selected priority sectors and to assist the County Governments to mainstream green economy principles, actions and activities into their planning, development and management programmes. The assessments were done using a green economy toolkit that was developed by UNEP and GIZ, and customised by ICCA for the pilot counties. Four priority sectors for Mombasa (Tourism, Transport and infrastructure, Energy and Waste) and four priority areas for Nakuru (Agriculture and Food, Energy, Waste and Water) counties were selected out of eleven sectors (Agriculture, Buildings, Cities, Energy, Fisheries, Forestry, Manufacturing, Tourism, Transport, Waste and Water) through stakeholder consultations. However, during the baseline field survey, the consultants assessed more sectors that emerged as also being key to the Counties’ economies. These included 4 for Nakuru County, i.e. Forestry, Tourism, Built Environment, and Transport and Infrastructure and 2 for Mombasa County (Fisheries, and Built Environment). Following the presentation of the outcomes of the assessment to the county officials, the ICCA technical team trained the county officials on how to mainstream green economy issues and programmes into their planning and annual budgeting processes, an exercise which turned out to be very fruitful and successful. A subsequent training workshop for the county officials was held in order to demonstrate how the green economy options could be harmonised in the County Annual Development Plans. The next step which is currently being undertaken is to adapt the step-by-step guide and the training compendium on "Operationalising Green Economy Transition at Sub-National Level" to the specific conditions and the thematic focus of the Kenya GESIP (2015), and to roll out the training to all the 47 counties of Kenya.