Kenya: Cooperation in action Tackling water shortages and droughts

Kenya has been severely affected by the impacts of climate change. Economic losses due to crop failure and dwindling herds have a devastating impact on communities that are already vulnerable. Under the NDC Partnership, the BMZ is supporting the implementation of Kenya's National Climate Change Action Plan.

In Kenya, more than half the population relies on farming to earn a living. With 98 per cent of agriculture depending on rain, droughts can quickly become a serious problem. Climate change leads to adverse weather patterns. This may be extreme rainfall, which leads to flooding, or also frequent and lengthier periods of drought. Both of these put people’s lives and livelihoods at stake. Economic losses due to crop failure and dwindling herds have a devastating impact on people who are already vulnerable.

Kenya: A group of farmers in Kirinyaga show the spot on the river bank where water is diverted from a river to the fields of the Mitooini farmers' cooperative.

Kenya: A group of farmers in Kirinyaga show the spot on the river bank where water is diverted from a river to the fields of the Mitooini farmers' cooperative.

Kenya: A group of farmers in Kirinyaga show the spot on the river bank where water is diverted from a river to the fields of the Mitooini farmers' cooperative.

About 80 per cent of Kenya's land is arid or semi-arid, making water a very valuable resource. Since the impacts of climate change on agriculture and tourism – Kenya's most important industries – are particularly severe, the government acknowledged the need to take action early on. In 2016, Kenya became one of the first African countries to pass climate change legislation, in the form of the Climate Change Act. The Kenyan government intends to address climate change at all levels. To this end, dedicated climate units have been established in all national ministries, authorities and county governments. Most are yet to be operationalised.

National Climate Change Action Plan

Within the framework of the NDC Partnership and with support from GIZ (acting on behalf of the BMZ), from UNDP and from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kenyan government developed its second National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), a five-year plan running from 2018 to 2022.

To advance the implementation of this Plan, GIZ has assisted the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in establishing a Joint Sector Working Group for Climate Change. This allows the Climate Change Directorate to coordinate the support provided by development partners and ensure that financial resources are aligned with the priority areas of the NCCAP. GIZ is also supporting climate change units at county level, helping them to report more precisely on climate action progress. The private sector and civil society also contribute to the reporting.

Adaptation to climate change is not the only focus of the country's NDC. Unlike the industrialised countries, Kenya’s greenhouse gas emissions have historically been low. Even so, and in line with the Paris Agreement, Kenya submitted an updated NDC in December 2020 with a strengthened mitigation target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent by 2030, measured against a business-as-usual scenario. Currently, renewable energy accounts for more than 90 per cent of Kenya’s used energy capacity. The target as declared by the president is for 100 per cent of the country's electricity supply to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030. With German support Kenya already has the biggest geothermal power plant in Africa and, since June 2019, the continent's biggest wind farm.

Gender-responsive NDC revision and long-term planning

Kenya’s NDC revision and update process was supported by the BMZ. In this context, the mitigation and adaptation actions were scrutinised by the Ministry of Public Service and Gender to ensure that they are gender-responsive. Subsequently, Kenya has also started to develop a Long-term Strategy (LTS). It will define the economic and social transformation needed in a changing climate in order to achieve a climate-friendly and climate-resilient economy. The LTS will take gender and intergenerational equity into account, helping to make subsequent NDCs and other relevant sectoral policies gender-responsive.