Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Nairobi Consultancies

Lead Researcher:

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.

Related Sites:
Lead Researcher:
Prof. Daniel Olago

The REACH Programme (, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and led by Prof. Robert Hope of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, is a seven year global programme that seeks to improve water security for millions of poor people in Asia and Africa. The main activities are focused in eight water security observatories across three countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya. The REACH Kenya Programme is hosted by the ICCA, University of Nairobi, with Prof. Daniel Olago as the Country Director, and is working closely with UNICEF Kenya. In Kenya, Water Security Observatories have been established in Kitui and Turkana Counties with the support of the National Government primarily through the Ministry for Water and Irrigation, the County Governments of Turkana and Kitui, as well as the resident communities, private sector and other local partners in the observatory areas. The Founding Patron for REACH Kenya is the Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation, Hon. Eugene Wamalwa. Millions of Kenyans face increasingly significant but uncertain impacts from climate extremes, water pollution, competitive resource use and distribution impacts for vulnerable groups, whether they be farmers, pastoralists or the millions without safe and reliable drinking water. The Kitui Observatory work revolves around the theme of "Building Water Secure Institutions" and explores how institutions can be designed to effectively mitigate rural water insecurity risks from rainfall variability, infrastructure unreliability and unsustainable finance. The Turkana Observatory work is centred on the theme "Small Towns in Fragile Environments" and explores institutional responses and risks for small towns in relation to the converging issues of resource variability, demographic growth, infrastructure fragility and financial sustainability to ensure inclusive water services for all.

Achieving water security for the poor requires decision-making across alternative and often competing choices with different outcomes at a range of scales. The REACH Consortium is using a risk-based framework that embeds the management of natural variability and associated political, economic and social uncertainties as the basis for interdisciplinary decision-making, and complements IWRM by explicitly recognising a range of alternative outcomes from multi-disciplinary data with inherent uncertainties over time (e.g. minutes for flash floods or decades for groundwater resources) and space (e.g. household poverty to national growth). It promotes a risk-based definition of water security as ‘a tolerable level of water-related risk’ that is also equitable, and recognises the interdisciplinary nature of choices, trade-offs and outcomes, with outcomes that influence water system sustainability, sustainable growth, and poverty reduction, considering the perspectives of different beneficiaries. This approach is novel, interdisciplinary and practical reflecting the need for hard policy and investment choices in contexts characterised by minimal, uncertain or absent data for decision-making. The evidence that will emerge on new approaches, models and methods will be of relevance across Kenya and the region. It is intended that the programme will deliver robust and accessible evidence on how to ensure sustainable water services for multiple users in developing countries at scale - evidence presented in a way that municipalities, rural water suppliers, governments, DFID and other investment/policy decision-makers can use to improve water security for poor people, and to better understand the costs-benefits and trade-offs associated with investment decisions. The result will be that as key policies and investment decisions are developed, they better take into account the water resources available and any impacts these decisions may have on other users. 

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Message from Ag. Director

Prof Shem O. Wandiga
Professor of Chemistry &
Ag. Director ICCA

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