Transparency needed in Sh1b climate change project

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 00:00 |
Climate change. Photo/Courtesy

Psamson Nzioki 

As the impacts of climate change continue to increase in magnitude and frequency, adaptation finance becomes increasingly important in reducing vulnerability and building resilience of communities against these impacts.

 The Adaptation Fund, aimed at helping developing countries build resilience and adapt to climate change, has been instrumental in supporting interventions that will help cushion communities from the impacts of climate change. 

In Marsabit county, for instance,  communities are being supported to grow drought resistant crops which has helped alleviate food insecurity and boost livelihoods.

Communities in Kwale are establishing mangrove tree nurseries that will help rehabilitate the coastal ecosystem while protecting coral reefs.

Communities in the Nyando River Basin are set to benefit from flood management and early warning systems. 

The above are just some of the benefits of the Sh1 billion Adaptation Fund programme being implemented in Kenya. 

The programme, approved in October 2014 by the Adaptation Fund Board, was meant to start in July 2014 and close in July 2017 with a mid-term review in December 2015 and a terminal evaluation scheduled for September 2017.

However, conflict between the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 which prohibit a public entity from directly receiving external resources, and the Adaptation Fund Operational Policies which require the National Implementing Entity to receive the funds directly, occasioned a significant delay that pushed the start of the programme to January 2016. 

Additionally, there were significant delays in disbursement of funds to the Executing Entities (EEs).

This was partly occasioned by the signing of contracts between the National Implementing Entity (NIE) and the EEs. The initial contracts signed neither had the date of signing nor the contract amount. 

Budget transparency in regards to disclosure of the specific allocations for the executing and sub-executing entities is not publicly available even after the realignments done.

This could hinder effective tracking and monitoring. Though budget realignments may be justifiable, the revised budgets are not publicly available on the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) or the Adaptation Fund’s websites.

Also lacking is disclosure of the contract agreements between the fund and Nema. 

Public awareness on the programme remains minimal countrywide. There is also little information on specific responsibility and working areas for 10 institutions implementing the programme. 

More information needs to be made publicly available to enhance accountability and transparency in the programme. This is a shared responsibility by all institutions involved in implementation. 

NEMA set up a multi-stakeholder National Programme Steering Committee chaired by Environment Principal Secretary as the highest governing body for the Adaptation Fund programme.

While this was a noble idea, the committee has met only once, sparking uncertainty on its effectiveness and ability to provide oversight in implementation of the programme. 

There also exists a conspicuous absence of Project/Programme Performance Reports (PPR) from the Kenyan programme. 

PPR identifies governance and operational challenges and lessons learnt which should be addressed and serve as a basis for strengthening systems and approaches and ensuring timely implementation and that communities are safeguarded from the impacts of a changing climate. 

The Kenyan programme dubbed Integrated Programme to Build Resilience to Climate Change & Adaptive Capacity of Vulnerable Communities in Kenya seeks to enhance resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change for select communities.

According to the project document available on the Adaptation Fund website, the initiative comprises five components—food security, water management, coastal management, disaster risk reduction and knowledge management. 

Kenya identifies adaptation as its priority intervention to addressing climate change. Utilisation of adaptation finances, therefore, requires high levels of transparency, accountability and integrity. - The writer leads the  Climate Governance and Integrity Programme at Transparency International, Kenya

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