Environment and Natural Resource Management

Climate Change

Climate change and natural disasters hit hardest among those already suffering from poverty and exclusion. Reducing the risk of disaster and planning for future climate change is essential for truly sustainable development. At the same time, climate change places compounded stress on the environment, as well as on economic, social and political systems.

Whether it comes in the form of extreme weather phenomena such as droughts and floods, or just regular events such as unpredictable weather patterns and shifting seasons. Climate change undermines development gains and leads to shortages in basic necessities among poor people. These circumstances lead to worsening hunger and poverty.

Put simply, where poverty is seen as an underlying risk, the climate becomes either a magnifier and in many cases a multiplier, of existing underlying causes of risk and increasing dependence of communities on humanitarian aid. Among many of the rural communities where KCDF works, a majority rely on agriculture and natural resources to survive.

For these people, the effects of climate change — limited water and food sources and increased competition for them — are a critical matter. As a result, considering the challenges each community is facing, and then developing localized solutions that will make the biggest impact remains a big challenge.

KCDF has an opportunity to broaden its approach in this area by strengthening the capacity of communities to have a voice in decision making in relation to planning and design of conservation initiatives affecting them and also assist such communities to adjust to the vagaries of climate variability.

Extractives

Mining activities in Kenya currently contribute about one per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Like other developing countries, exploitation of these resources has generally had mixed outcomes. In instances where certain mining ground rules have been observed such as effective government regulation and mining companies behaving responsibly with regard to the environment and their relationships with local communities, sustainable and equitable human development has been realized.

According to the World Bank, practical programmes and policies that have helped increase the probability of positive experiences between mining companies and communities are those that recognize three key aspects: mining companies not only need their legal license to operate but a strong “social license” which results from rigorous consultation, participation, and a robust trilateral dialogue among the mining company, the local community, and the government.

The trilateral dialogue would have to focus on the sustainability of benefits for local communities. Through constructive processes, local communities learn how to organize and how to negotiate in order to meaningfully participate independently in decision-making processes.

Under this thematic area, the key interventions will include;

  • Enhance public participation and decision-making – to increase the rights of communities affected by extraction of their resources to participate as required under the Constitution.
  • The promotion of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) – which requires States to consult and cooperate in good faith with communities concerned through their own representative institutions and structures in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
  • Where conducive conditions exist, support establishment of Foundations, Trusts and Funds (FTF’s) as financial and institutional frameworks that facilitate compensation and community investment including asset building mainly due to structured multiple funding of the same community priority projects; addressing low absorptive capacity of county governments and their ability to optimally utilize revenues accrued from the extractive sector.

 

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