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The Council of Governors (CoG) on 22nd July 2022 launched the assessment of the impact of devolution on women and girls report at Movenpick Hotel, Nairobi. The report documents the impact of devolution on women and girls in select sectors 0f: Education, Health, Agriculture, Water and Sanitation, and Urban Planning.

The assessment was conducted in 14 counties namely, Busia, Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kilifi, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Narok, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot, with the support of UN Women and UNCDF.

Devolution has opened up opportunities for women and other previously marginalized groups to participate in county-level planning and budgeting, ensuring that County Governments integrate gender-responsive mechanisms. 12 years since the promulgation of the Constitution and 8 years since the inception of devolution, the report presents the Women and Girls’ voices on the story of devolution.

The assessment report was commissioned by the CoG with input from a broader multi agency team with representatives drawn from: State Department in charge of Gender, State Department in charge of Devolution, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), University of Nairobi Department in charge of Gender Studies, National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) and the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) among other partners.

Speaking during the Launch, H.E. Evalyn Aruasa, Deputy Governor Narok County, noted that although the principle of gender equality remains elusive in Kenya, Counties had made substantive progress in addressing the existent gender inequalities and promoting gender mainstreaming for inclusive service delivery at all levels.

For instance, Kilifi County, in collaboration with partners, has constructed a state-of-the-art newborn unit which has significantly reduced maternal and newborn mortality. Mandera County, on the other hand, has adopted gender-responsive budgeting and planning by taking into consideration potential gender impacts when designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating budget policies. Similarly, Narok County set aside funds to support the socio-economic empowerment of women and youth involved in beadwork through the Ushanga Initiative.

The report noted among others that: enrollment rates of girls in ECDE have sharply increased owing to robust investment in infrastructure and human resources by all Counties. A gendered approach has been adopted to the provision of healthcare services in different counties due to sustained resource allocation averaging 30% of the total county budgets.

CEO CoG Ms. Mary Mwiti emphasized the crucial role women and girls play in the national development agenda and called for the active and meaningful participation of women and girls in political leadership and other decision-making processes. “Let us shift our mindsets and move away from discriminatory retrogressive cultural practices and social norms that disadvantage our women and girls,” added Ms. Mary Mwiti while appreciating the immense support from development partners towards the formulation of the assessment report.

In order to achieve Gender mainstreaming at the County level, relevant infrastructure must be put in place. To achieve this, the assessment report recommends the creation of strong Gender Departments with adequate staff and budget provisions for enhanced gender mainstreaming and inclusive programming toward improved service delivery in all the County Departments.

“There is limited awareness of the linkage between revenue administration, enforcement, and gender issues in gender departments at the Counties,” noted Dr. Dmitry Pozhidaev - UNCDF Global Advisor for Local Government Finance while highlighting the need to incorporate the gender dimension financing aspects and governance-related factors in local Public Finance Management (PFM).

The CoG on its part will provide timely guidance to the 47 counties that are in the process of developing the 3rd CIDPs by providing minimum indicators, scorecards or gender action plans for integrating gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

Ms. Lucy Mathenge on behalf of the Deputy Country Director, UN Women Kenya Country Office lauded County Governments for the milestones achieved thus far in attaining gender equality noting that adequate financing of gender interventions and data was key in ensuring gender-responsive planning in Counties.

“As UN Women, we remain committed to supporting and advancing the gender equality agenda in Kenya as well as attainment of Vision 2030,” said Ms. Lucy Mathenge.

The recommendations of the assessment of the impact of devolution on women and girls report come at an opportune time when the Country is anticipating a leadership transition after the 9th August General Elections. The incumbent and incoming leadership were called upon to utilize the report as it offers useful insights that will inform the design and implementation of gender programmes. Further, the report will influence the development of policies that promote social inclusion, sustainable development and gender equality at the National and County level

In view of the forthcoming general elections that will usher in new leadership at the National and County level, the Council of Governors (CoG) has prioritized the facilitation of leadership transitions in County Governments to ensure continued service delivery to all citizens. The CoG held a joint consultative meeting with County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) for health, Chief Officers for Health (COH), and County Directors of Health Services (CDH) at the English point marina hotel, Mombasa from 13th to 14th July 2022, to review and validate the health sector induction manual. “We are grateful for the opportunity to share our experiences in managing county health services through this induction program. This will help the new teams to settle into their roles quickly and learn from our successes and mistakes. Many of us learned to fly on the job, so we thank COG for this initiative,” stated Prof Mwanje, CECM Health Services - Vihiga County. Dr. Gordon Okomo – Chair, CDH Caucus, acknowledged that the Joint meeting between CECMs health, COH, and CDH is one of its kind and further expressed his happiness in having pioneer CECMs present in the meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the CEO CoG, Ms. Irene Ogamba, Director – Legal services at the CoG urged the County leadership present to utilize their 10-year experience in the health sector to enhance the delivery of health services to the local mwananchi. “Let us ensure that critical area of performance, governance, and delivery are well captured in a manner that envisages the minimum standards that are required for efficiency and effectiveness in operations at the Counties,” noted Ms. Irene Ogamba.

This meeting comes at an opportune time when CoG sectoral committees are developing sectoral content which will be part of the orientation program for the new County leadership to be delivered later this year. The contribution of County Governments towards the realization of the right to health for Kenyans, since the adoption of the devolution, has been immense. County Governments have reduced inequities in the distribution of health workers, particularly the specialized cadres. Further, investments in new infrastructure and equipment have increased access to health care facilities and quality health care. Despite these gains, budgetary allocations dedicated to health services remain sub-optimal to cover the increasing healthcare needs of the population. With the limited fiscal space, budgets for health commodities have been seriously constrained. Addressing such critical gaps requires policy, legislative and operational interventions.

Dr. Shikely Khadija- Chair, Chief officers’ Caucus emphasized the importance of ring-fencing finances for health adding that health resource sharing could come in handy in managing Counties wage Bill. “The management of donor transitions and sustainable resourcing for the health sector is of utmost importance,” added Ms. Claire Wanyama- Secretary general – CECM Health.

Ongoing efforts aimed at reviewing the health legislative framework to not only align to the ethos of the Constitution of Kenya but also improve operational effectiveness and efficiency at all levels of the health care system are laudable. However, success in health as a development issue requires close collaboration between the health departments and other related sectors that contribute to social determinants of health such as education, sanitation, and nutrition.

“There is a need for close collaboration and partnership between CoG, Counties, and both tiers of Government to address the barriers clawing back on devolution and consolidate the gains Counties have made in the health sector,” said Ms. Gakuo Wairimu; Strategic Partnerships Officer- USAID.

From the wide consultations undertaken, the proposed induction program will be structured to orient officers on health services as a devolved function, paying attention to the policy and legislative environment, sector governance, health services planning, status of various programs running in the counties including MES equipment, transfer of functions and resources, emerging issues in the health sector and considerations for improving service delivery. Going forward, the Council will be undertaking stakeholder consultations, and refining the induction handbooks and materials in readiness for delivery.

Council of Governors Chairman, H.E Martin Wambora, delivered the 9th State of Devolution Address (SODA) on 8th July 2022 to take stock of the achievements and challenges, as well as forge a way forward for the third generation of County Governments. “Thanks to devolution, Kenya has witnessed unprecedented socio-economic development despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Wambora. “Tremendous progress has been witnessed in the health sector, particularly in the areas of service delivery, human resources, infrastructure, and health financing. There are now 13,772 health facilities, up from 13,190 in 2021, 886 sub-county hospitals, 2,180 health centers, 10,677 dispensaries and six national reference hospitals,” he added.

According to the CoG boss, Counties spent an average of 11% of their budgets on agriculture, which translated to 5.1% expansion in the most recent fiscal year alone. The value of marketed agricultural produce rose by 4.3% overall from Sh505.3 billion in 2020 to Sh527.0 billion in 2021. Further, Counties in collaboration with the National Government have provided subsidized inputs to farmers in a bid to improve agricultural production and boost food security.

On matters disaster management, 12 counties have passed disaster management acts, while 10 have disaster management policies in an effort to mitigate the adverse effects of perennial drought in ASALs. Additionally, 2.7 million people have benefitted from the distribution of emergency food by the counties, and one million people have benefited from water monitoring by the devolved units. To offer a framework for coordinating readiness, response, and recovery efforts, 13 counties have created county emergency operations plans.

In recognition of the integral role of the urban sector in the country’s socio-economic development, Counties have heavily invested in urban infrastructure with around 202 km of roads been completed in municipalities. On trade and manufacturing, Counties have registered 124,420 micro-enterprises, 87,153 small businesses, 34,727 medium-sized businesses, and 8,191 big businesses. "To promote MSMEs, 19 counties created the county business enterprise funds to provide cheap loans, with the cumulative allocation of Sh334.5 million and a total of Sh7, 058 MSMEs benefiting," noted Governor Wambora.

Counties have made significant investments in ECDE education. This is evidenced by the Pre-primary One and Two enrollment which has witnessed a 0.4% increase from 2.82 million in 2020 to 2.84 million in 2021. Counties have also hired 50, 964 ECDE teachers following the rising need to address the shortage of ECDE teachers and improve the quality of education.

On water connectivity, the Council reported that a total of 2,509,012 households in Kenya are connected to piped water whereas a total of 828,927 households are connected to sewer systems.

“Counties have constructed a total of 3,184 water pans with Nyeri County leading with a total of 1,000 water pans,” reads the SODA report. Significant improvements were also cited in other sectors among them being finance, gender, youth, blue economy, tourism and natural resource management.

Despite their achievements, Counties continue to face a myriad of challenges with the unending delays in the disbursement of funds by the National Treasury topping the list. The delays have often paralyzed operations in the devolved units leaving Counties unable to pay county staff their salaries, pay suppliers and offer essential services to the citizenry.

Addressing the media after the State of Devolution Address, the Council’s Vice Chairman H.E James Ongwae urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to put a stop to what he dubbed as ongoing and unjustified delays in the National Treasury's disbursement of Counties Equitable share.

“We implore upon you [Uhuru] to direct the National Treasury to disburse the remaining fund to the counties forthwith,” stated Governor Ongwae.

While making his closing remarks, H.E Martin Wambora, alongside Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, led fellow Governors in launching a book highlighting the speeches of CoG leaders in transition periods and further amalgamating the SODAs that have been read since 2014.

The Council’s Chair further advised members of the public to promote peace and elect candidates who will safeguard devolution come 9th August 2022.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate the great men and women who have steered Devolution on the path to success and left an indelible mark in our country,” said Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya Hon. Justice Smokin C. Wanjala on Friday 8th July, 2022, during a farewell luncheon for the outgoing 2nd term Governors and Deputy Governors organized by the Council of Governors.

The farewell luncheon, held at the Movenpick Hotel, was attended by Excellency Governors and Deputy Governors, Defence Cabinet Secretary, and A.g Cabinet Secretary Devolution Hon. Eugene Wamalwa. Also in attendance were Danish Deputy Ambassador Trine Grønborg who was representing the Devolution Donor Working Group, and the chairman, County Assemblies Forum Hon. Ndegwa Wahome among other invited guests.

“I take this opportunity to thank you, my colleague, Governors, for giving me one of the biggest surprises of my life when some of you insisted that I apply for the position of Chairman and the rest of you unanimously agreed to endorse me as your Chairman. That was not all – you graciously gave me a second chance to continue serving you. May I also take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat for planning such an elaborate send-off,” said Council of Governors Chairman H.E Martin Wambora while lauding Governors for their support during his two-term tenure as CoG Boss.

The County Pension Fund CEO, Mr. Hosea Kili, OGW, noted that CPF has been a very proud partner of Devolution, serving all the 47 Counties across the Country despite the numerous challenges affecting the Devolved Units. “I wish to recognize, and thank all the pioneer Governors and Deputy Governors who supported us during the transition years; for without that support, we would not be where we are today. It is never easy to walk the uncharted path. As one who has walked the full mile with the Council of Governors over the past 10 years, I can attest to that. We have faced obstacles together, and we have emerged stronger, together, in the true spirit of Devolution,” said Kili.

Defense Cabinet Secretary and A.g Cabinet Secretary Devolution Hon. Eugene Wamalwa termed devolution as the best model of development for Kenya and urged Governors to continue to safeguard devolution for effective service delivery to all Kenyans.

“As we celebrate 10 years of Devolution and mark the end of the second generation of County Governments, we must also acknowledge and celebrate the harmonious intergovernmental relations we have developed that have seen the 2 levels of Governments work together seamlessly through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis,” said CS Wamalwa.

Speaking on behalf of the EU High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E Katrin Hagemann further called upon the outgoing Governors to utilize their rich experience in local governance to strengthen and deepen devolution in their different capacities. The names of the 21-second term Governors will remain embedded in Kenya’s history for their boldness and endearing commitment in ensuring all Kenyans enjoy the fruits of devolution. To these founding fathers of devolution in Kenya, we say hongera!

The Council of Governors (CoG) is planning a comprehensive induction process and developing induction materials for the Governors, Deputy Governors, CECMs, Chief Officers and other cadres in the county ahead of the transition and assumption of office come August 2022.

Speaking during a three-day workshop on induction held in Nakuru County on 15th June 2022, the Director of Legal Services at the CoG Ms. Irene Ogamaba noted that the induction process was of utmost importance in ensuring a smooth transition and uninterrupted service delivery at the Counties.

“The expected changes in administration at the Counties will see some officers continue serving in their role, others will be new but seasoned officials with extensive expertise in their respective positions, while others may lack comprehensive knowledge and experience in matters devolved governance. As such induction is indeed timely and necessary,” she added.

The new County leadership will be appraised on pertinent issues including Constitutional and legal frameworks guiding devolved governance; County structures and their functions; transition management; assets and liabilities; pending Bills; intergovernmental relations and interactions with commissions and independent offices such as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Auditor-General,  Office of the Controller of Budget and Judiciary; transfer of functions; summons and impeachment as provided for under Article 187 of the Constitution; dispute resolutions mechanisms; County Planning and Financing; County public service management;  County Procurement regulations, and other emerging issues such as regional blocs, legislations that claws back on devolution, and disaster risk management in the Counties among others.

County Governments have achieved significant milestones in advancing the Country’s devolved sectors and enhancing service delivery to Kenyans, the political, fiscal, and administrative challenges notwithstanding. Going into the third generation of County Governments, both tiers of government should leverage the combined synergies of all devolution stakeholders to deliver the devolution dividend for all Kenyans.

Representing the Ministry of Devolution, Mr. Timothy Otenyo reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to strengthening devolution highlighting the critical role the transition plays in shaping Kenya’s political and socio-economic agenda and laying the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous regime.

The CoG will continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure a seamless transition in the County Governments and further calls upon all political leaders to maintain peace and sobriety during this electioneering period.

Kenya joined other African countries in marking this year’s Africa Public Service Day (APSD) in an elaborate three-day event held at KICC from 21st June 2022. Themed “Celebrating Public Service Transformation: Ten Years Journey and Beyond,” the Africa Public Service Day (APSD) celebrations brought together over 100 institutions including Ministries, Agencies, County Governments, academia as well as public servants to take stock of the transformations witnessed in the public service. Further, the forum sought to highlight positive contributions to Kenya’s socio-economic development and deliberate on enhancing service delivery to citizens as envisioned in the Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030.

As a precursor to the event, the CS for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens and Special programmes, Prof. Margaret Kobia flanked by a host of top government officials, led members of the public in a tree planting exercise in Ngong Forest. The exercise aimed at boosting Kenya’s efforts to attain 10% forest cover by end of 2022.

Speaking while delivering a speech on behalf of H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, Dr. Joseph Kinyua, the head of public service thanked all public servants for their commitment to duty and continued public service to all Kenyans albeit with enforcement of measures to avoid a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has deepened our appreciation of a stronger, flexible, smarter, efficient and more responsive civil service that can incorporate risk management to ensure uninterrupted service delivery,” noted Dr. Kinyua while imploring public servants to uphold the values of professionalism, accountability, ethics and excellence in execution of their duties.

Over the last decade, Kenya has made commendable progress in creating an efficient, effective and sustainable public service that offers quality service to the citizenry. However, there is need to integrate public service with new approaches, including digital technologies, and build the capacity of our human capital for a highly skilled and competent public service.

“In order to strengthen and modernize our public service, we need to embrace innovations and best practices that will inspire creativity to enable us tackle future challenges,” added Cs Prof. Kobia.

This year’s APSD celebrations featured paper presentations, panels discussions, symposiums, exhibitions and offered an opportunity for public servants to obtain feedback from the citizens on services rendered. Additionally, performance management champions, ministries, public institutions and County Governments were recognized for their exemplary performance and outstanding innovations that have transformed public service in the last 10 years.

The Council of Governors (CoG) was feted for its commitment and support to County Governments in entrenching Performance Management with Kakamega, Makueni and Busia Counties being recognized for their success in institutionalizing and cascading performance contracting.

Speaking during the award ceremony, H.E Dr. Wycliffe Oparanya termed Public service as a fundamental component of democracy urging all County Governments to embrace performance contracting as a tool for enhancing service delivery.

“There is need to harmonize remuneration of public service workers and deliberate on how we can bring services closer to the people, said H.E Dr. Oparanya.

Other categories of innovations highlighted include: Business Process Re-engineering; Innovations for inclusive and Equitable Service Delivery; Public Service Digitization; and Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Initiatives.

Addressing members of the public during a panel session on ‘Deepening devolution to enhance service delivery and improve citizen’s livelihood’ H.E Prof Kivutha Kibwana emphasized on the need to embed true public participation in all areas of public service.

“Public participation is at the heart of public service. It guides decision making, policy formulation, budget preparation and development of County Integrated development plans (CIDPs),” added Prof. Kivutha.

In the years to come, Kenya’s public service will be more agile, tech-savvy, data driven and human centric. This requires strengthened collaboration and partnership between both levels of government, industry players and development partners for enhanced service delivery to all Kenyans. Kenya school of Government was challenged to design new courses that will be responsive to this new reality.

Speaking on behalf of UNDP Dr. Dan Juma, the Team Leader Governance and Inclusive Growth, expressed the commitment of UNDP in supporting National and County Governments in improving service delivery noting the immense progress made thus far. He emphasized the contribution of youth innovations to public service transformation in Kenya and called for greater youth involvement in public service.

For an institution to thrive, employees need to reflect on their past, present, and future to develop insights on what to improve and boost institutional growth. In view of the need to foster teamwork and productivity among the Council of Governors secretariat, the institution organized an annual review meeting held from 20th - 24th June 2022 at Panari Resort, Nyahururu. The meeting sought to review the institution’s long-term strategic goals to enable the Council effectively carry out its mission and sustain the prominent and vital role it plays in the Devolution Space.

In his welcoming remarks, Director Committees Mr. Kizito Wangalwa highlighted the need to have a total reflection of the entire financial year and guide the new county leadership after the general elections. 

“The Council provides a good working and learning environment hence proper planning should be made in readiness for the incoming leadership as we all prioritize the institution and its mandate” stated Kizito.

On her part, Council of Governors CEO Ms. Mary Mwiti started by recognizing the milestones achieved when people work together, adding that the informal setup would help the staff to leverage on every one uniqueness, and learning each other’s strengths, skills, and competencies to deliver results. She further encouraged the team to have genuine conversations giving constructive and objective feedback in the process to forge forward in a direction agreed upon by all.

“I appreciate the support and professionalism the team have shown in achieving the organizational goals. This has only been realized through autonomous leadership style which empowers our staff to succeed by providing authority to make relevant decisions in your positions and giving the tools and resources you all need,” said Mwiti.

According to Director, Legal services Ms. Irine Ogamba, there is a need for standard information sharing across all sectoral meetings with the incoming CECMs and COs on the importance of the Council of Governors to Counties.

KSG Director of Finance and Administration Prof. Nura Mohamed, who was also the keynote speaker on the last day, noted that a successful team is one that supports each other and acknowledges each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.

 “CoG is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities,” said Professor Mohamed.

Later in the day, the team engaged in team-building activities where they indulged in various games which reflected on what was learned throughout the period. Some of the key values learned included; teamwork, choosing the right team for the right job, the importance of effective leadership, and embracing each member’s personality.

Guided by the strategic plan 2022-2027, the Council of Governors will easily implement its mandate. The three pillars which include: good governance and institutional capacity for sustainable service delivery in the counties; intergovernmental relations and devolution; and institutional development are expected to enhance the role and visibility of COG and strategically position the Council as a common voice for devolved governments.

The Council of Governors (CoG) is seeking a recalibrated approach to healthcare financing in a bid to address funding hitches presented by a decline in donor interventions on key programmes such as those related to HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

The Council’s caucus bringing together County Executive Committee Members for Health and Finance at Lake Naivasha Resort from 5th to 8th June, noted the donor landscape was fast changing and hence the need to institute measures to address the funding gap.

In this regard, Counties through their County Treasuries, agreed to seek more independence from donor funding through domestic resource mobilization, progressively increasing county allocation towards the health sector, and the planned takeover of donor paid staff.

Prof. Richard Muga Chair of the CECM health caucus, urged all stakeholders to work together to achieve sustainable healthcare and put in place the requisite legal frameworks to ensure all citizens, including marginalized and vulnerable groups, have access to healthcare services.

“If health works, other things will follow. Development initiatives in the county will not add much value to the citizens unless they achieve quality care,” noted Prof. Muga, during the joint consultative meeting to evaluate the status of health financing in the Counties and deliberate on issues of common interest in advancement of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda.

The forum was also attended by other stakeholders in the health sector including KEMSA, NHIF, KMTC and development partners.

While making his opening remarks H.E Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o emphasized on the need to document, share and build on the lessons learnt in the health sector for uninterrupted service delivery at all levels, particularly during the electioneering period.

“We need to continually ask ourselves how best we can ensure that all Kenyans have access to health services when they need them and at a cost they can afford,” noted Prof. Nyong’o.

The Constitution of Kenya and other policy documents - including Vision 2030, the Kenya Health Policy (2014–2030), county integrated development plans (CIDPs), and county health sectoral plans (CHSPs) - recognize health as a fundamental right and an important driver in spurring the country’s economic growth. Despite having 14 devolved functions, most counties invest approximately 30% of their budgets in health.

While Counties have made considerable efforts to diversify local incomes and boost their own source revenue, the perennial delays in the disbursement of funds to Counties by the exchequer have hampered the effective delivery of health services.

“National Treasury should serve the interests of both levels of government. We need to develop a charter that will ensure timely and adequate budgetary allocations to the health sector for provision of essential health services in the Counties,” said CoG CEO Mary Mwiti.

Speaking during a panel discussion on how to improve responsiveness to County needs in the health sector, KEMSA CEO Terry Ramadhani highlighted the need to adopt a pro-active approach to service delivery in the Counties for better health outcomes.

“We are undertaking structural reforms at KEMSA to enhance visibility, accountability and efficiency in the supply, management and distribution of medical drugs to the Counties,” she added.

Kenya faces a huge burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. In view of this, there is need for increased investment in preventive and promotive healthcare. Both tiers of Government should work collaboratively with the private sector, development partners and other non-state actors to safeguard the gains made in the health sector and enable the country attain self -reliance.

County Governments resolved to among others: share best practices on the different ways of managing health financing and develop a model law for the Facility Improvement Fund (FIF); prioritize the settlement of health sector pending bills and guard against unprecedented debt levels in the County; strengthen systems for the generation, analysis, and use of real time health data for planning, budgeting, priority setting and decision making; adopt new cost-effective innovations and technologies for improved health care service delivery; and work in collaboration with the CoG to facilitate a smooth transition to the third-generation County Governments.

“Kenya has prioritized the sustainable utilization of its ocean and blue economy resources as an enabler of the Vision 2030 economic blueprint. It is clear that the ocean economy is a smart investment that can deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to our people,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta during a media address in 2020 when he presided over the national launch of the New Ocean Action Agenda at State house, Nairobi.
Following this, the Council of Governors Blue Economy Committee and Development Partners on 9th May 2022 held a consultative meeting at the Delta Offices in Nairobi to deliberate on possible areas of partnership in the Sector.
In his opening remarks, Chairperson, Council of Governors Blue Economy Committee H.E Fahim Twaha, said that the country is making steady progress towards reaping the immense benefits in the blue economy sector and called for an investment of more resources to enable the sector to thrive.
“Kenya is making headway in ensuring that the Blue Economy sector plays its part in addressing the SDGs on poverty alleviation, food security, affordable and clean energy, and climate action. Furthermore, its role has been boosted since being recognized by the Government of Kenya as a key sub-sector in the country’s growth strategy”, said H.E Twaha.
According to Council of Governors CEO Ms. Mary Mwiti, the Blue Economy Sector has played a critical role in the country’s food security agenda, gender equality, boosting of employment opportunities and fulfillment of SDGs, all of which are key to County Governments.
“As a Council, we are aware that a lot of focus has been channeled at the National level forgetting that Counties have a major role to play in achieving the National Blue Economy agenda” said Ms. Mwiti.
Speaking of behalf of the Development Partners, Mr. Erick Ogallo from the Royal Danish Embassy, reiterated that there should be cooperation, collaboration and smooth communication amongst all institutions involved to avoid duplication of projects and programmes.
The CoG Blue Economy Committee technical lead, Ms. Barbara Awuor, noted that the Blue Economy Committee had made significant strides since its establishment in the Council. This includes capacity Building for County Directors of Fisheries, participation in the development of the Kenya Blue Economy Strategy, participation in the development of policies and regulations in the sector, active participation in the preparations of the upcoming UN Ocean Conference, and development of an assessment tool for Blue Economy Opportunities for four pilot Counties (Turkana, Homabay, Nakuru and Kwale).
It was resolved that all stakeholders in the blue economy sector work together to ensure increased budgetary allocations in the blue economy sector, the entrenchment of the blue economy in the 3rd generation of the County Integrated Development Plans, and domestication of policies to govern the blue economy sector.

Over the years, Kenya like many other countries in Africa and elsewhere in the world, has experienced an increase in the intensity and frequency of occurrence of disasters. Disasters such as perennial droughts, fire, floods, terrorism, technological accidents, diseases and epidemics have resulted in huge economic losses, disruption of people’s livelihoods, destruction of infrastructure and hampered the effective implementation of development projects across the country. In view of this, a delegation of government officials from Kenya visited the Republic of India from 7th to 13th May 2022 to engage in peer learning on disaster management. The team included officers from The National Treasury, Council of Governors, Ministry of Interior, Kenya Law Reform Commission, Office of the Attorney General and the State Department of Social Protection.
While Kenya does have a national policy for disaster management, the current institutional arrangement for disaster management in Kenya is discordant. Therefore, it is therefore important to learn from other countries that have a coherent policy and legislative framework on disaster management.
The Republic of India is a vast country covering 3.3 million km2 with an estimated population of 1.4 billion. The country has two levels of government: the Central Government and State Governments. There are 28 states divided into administrative units and 8 union territories governed in part or wholly by the Central Government.
India is vulnerable to approximately 30 different types of disasters including earthquakes, floods, droughts, heatwaves, cyclones, chemical disasters and landslides. The country’s National Disaster Management Act lays down the institutional and coordination framework for effective disaster management at the national, state, district and local levels including financing of disaster relief. It includes a multi-tiered system consisting of the National Disaster Management Authority headed by the Prime Minister, the State Disaster Management Authority headed by the respective chief executives of the State (Chief Minister) and the District Disaster Management Authority headed by the respective district heads.
India’s disaster management system depicts a departure from the relief-centric approach to a more proactive, holistic, and integrated approach of strengthening prevention, preparedness, mitigation, emergency and reconstruction response. The country has a comprehensive National Policy on Disaster Management and a National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) envisaged to make India disaster-resilient across all sectors, achieve substantial and inclusive disaster risk reduction and enhance the country’s ability to cope with disasters at all levels. In recognition of the changing dynamics of the world today and emerging disasters, the NDMP is periodically improved in accordance with global best practices in disaster management.
Indeed, Kenya has undertaken considerable efforts towards disaster mitigation, management and response to cushion communities against the vulnerabilities associated with these risks. However, disaster risk reduction should be mainstreamed in the development process at both the National and sub-national level. Further, the disaster management function should be devolved to the County Governments to enable them effectively prepare for and execute disaster management strategies. Through the combined efforts of all actors in the public and private sector, Kenya will strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities to cope with potential disasters and contribute immensely to poverty reduction and sustainable development in the country.
The Kenyan delegation in India also paid a courtesy call to the Kenya High Commissioner to India and held insightful discussions with the National Disaster Management Authority in New Delhi, the New Delhi District Disaster Management Authority, the Gujarati State Disaster Management Authority and the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority.

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