Enhancing Institutional Arrangement for Integrated Water, Energy and Food security
In March 2016, the Pegasys Institute, along with Losai Management, ran a training workshop with participants from four counties in Kenya – Laikipia, Narok, Machakos and Tana – on integrated water-energy-food planning (the so-called WEF nexus), how to make decisions in the face of climate change uncertainty, and climate financing.
Over two and a half days, participants who had been engaged on a one-year project about the same, worked together on case studies, and engaged with presentations given by Barbara Schreiner from the Pegasys Institute and Simon Thuo from Losai Management. And of their own volition, participants came together and developed action plans that they wanted to take back to the counties to implement.
On 27th and 28th June 2016, a follow-up session was held in Laikipia, with the participants from the training workshop, to hear what they had managed to implement, what successes they had had, and what challenges they had faced.
After only two months of implementation phase for the proposed action plans, these are some of the success stories that resulted, as reported by the participants at the follow-up workshop. Unfortunately, Tana River County were not able to send representatives to the session, and so their stories are not captured here.
Representatives from Laikipia County reported back that they had successfully shared the WEF nexus approach with the county government among other WEF stakeholders, and that the county government had, in response, provided 200,000 tree seedlings. Another 170,000 tree seedlings were received from non-state stakeholders to be planted to increase tree cover in the county. As a direct result of their integrated engagements, the representatives were able to get support from other WEF stakeholders such as the Kenya Research Institute (KEFRI) which committed to offering technical advice on tree species and site matching while the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) offered to provide two million fruit trees to farmers for commercial purposes. NEMA agreed that they would insist on Environmental Impact Assessments being done before any development projects started to ensure that tree cover in the county is protected.
A campaign marathon for tree planting in the county has also been supported by the Governor with the aim of planting 40 million tree seedlings over a four-year period in 3 sub counties to increase tree cover. The theme is “Going wild for life” and it will become a yearly event.
The issue of WEF-planning and implementation was also raised in county budget discussions, although the final budget had not been approved at the time of the workshop.
While these immediate successes were recorded as a direct outcome of the 2 and ½ day training on WEF integrated planning, there still remains a challenge in vertical integration between the national and the county governments in that issues that are discussed and agreed at county level are often not effectively communicated through/prioritized at the national government level, which often results in conflicting mandates and duplication of activities/projects wasting limited resources.
After the workshop, the participants from Machakos formed and formalized a Machakos Climate WEF nexus forum comprised of different WEF stakeholders within the county. It is hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture ASDSP program which is also performs the secretariat function. NEMA and KFS are among the members of the forum and the forum is looking at how best to work with other national level institutions such as NEMA. The committee running the forum has eight members. The forum aims to share the nexus approach with other stakeholders and advance lessons of integrated planning into practice in the county.
The forum accomplished the WEF stakeholder mapping exercise which they had set out among their action plans. They identified 50 WEF stakeholders within Machakos, created a mailing list and keep them posted on any WEF developments. The WEF stakeholders are also welcome to participate in forum meetings. Forum representatives were invited to the 6th metrological meeting where they shared the nexus concept with participants.
One other significant influence the forum had was on the county’s budget allocation for climate change which was very small prior to their intervention, and was only sufficient for tree planting. After sharing what they learned in the workshop, the budget was increased by the county government. The Machakos Climate-WEF Nexus Forum requested a budget increment to KSHS 50 million from the county government to cater for projects on climate change adaptation and they are waiting for response to this request.
Furthermore, upon hearing the work and role of the Machakos WEF nexus forum, the Machakos Water Company which is being funded by the African Development Bank to implement water projects such as the Miwongoni dam has agreed to incorporate elements of the WEF integrated planning into their projects, such as through river bank protection and tree planting.
On the other hand, some stakeholders feel that the WEF process is duplicating work that they are already doing in response to climate change. It is also difficult to mobilize stakeholders since the climate forum does not yet have any financial support from the county government. Lobbying county government for a budget for climate change project implementation is also a great challenge since the County government usually only allocates a small amount for environmental and water issues.
The Narok team constituted a steering committee for implementing the WEF-Nexus approach in Narok. On the committee, the NEMA regional Director is the chair, while the county government is represented by 3 members, and there is one officer from the WRMA, one representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and one member from the Irrigation Department.
In Kenya the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) works with Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs) to implement climate change related projects and WRUAs are the entry point for community projects. The WRUAs work with WRMA on river bank protection and water storage infrastructure. As part of the follow up action plans, the WRUA’s from Narok were taken on a tour to Naivasha basin to learn from them how WRUA’s in Naivasha were practicing catchment protection and adaptation measures. It emerged during the tour that while most projects in Naivasha are funded by NGOs, this was not the case in Narok where WRUAs have limited funding to implement WEF and climate change projects.
In conclusion, capacitating WEF stakeholders already existing in counties helps equip them for integrated planning and decision making in the face of uncertainty. The two and a half day capacity training was significant not only in educating the participants on the theory of WEF nexus but it also equipped them through engaging in case studies- with the tools of how to apply the WEF nexus in practice, which resulted in the action plans and their implementation.
Although there was good progress regarding the action plans in each of the counties, participants felt that there was still a great need for awareness creation around the WEF nexus at national and grass root levels, including for politicians, as it is still a new concept that people are not sufficiently aware of. Despite all these accomplishments, participants noted that among the challenges for WEF integration, was the sense that the WEF Nexus was still presented in a complex manner, and if not simplified will always be perceived as too complex for most stakeholders and may significantly affect uptake.