Mainstreaming climate change adaptation in Kenya: lessons from Makueni and Wajir counties

Intensifying climate change impacts, such as more frequent, prolonged droughts, threaten to unravel the progress that Kenya has made advancing its sustainable development agenda and to stymie future gains. Like many policymakers around the world, Kenyan officials recognize that mainstreaming adaptation into their development plans and policies across all sectors can improve the resilience of development outcomes, maximize the efficiency of limited resources and help decision-makers avoid maladaptive investments. At the national level, Kenya has made considerable progress in building resilience through its National Adaptation Plan, and the government is now supporting local efforts to mainstream adaptation into County Integrated Development Plans (CIPDs) by establishing County Climate Change Funds (CCCFs). These innovative institutions provide the financial and technical assistance that county officials need to propose, prioritize and implement climate resilience actions. Analyzing progress made mainstreaming adaptation into five counties’ CIPDs, this working paper identifies two local governments that have emerged as early leaders: Makueni and Wajir. It examines the challenges that all counties have faced, highlights factors that have enabled Makueni and Wajir to overcome these barriers faster than the others and recommends strategies that can support efforts to integrate resilience into CIPDs across Kenya’s 47 counties.