Human rights activists call for prudent use of climate funds

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o. [Esther Jeruto, Standard] 

Human rights activists have challenged Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o's administration to ensure effective management of climate finances in the county.

The activists also want the county government to avail relevant information, including publishing critical budget documents on the official county website, such as implementation reports and final supplementary budgets.

Speaking in Kisumu, Mike Joseph of Sustainable Environmental Developmental Watch Kenya (SuSwatch) said there is a need to implement prioritised projects as outlined in the Participatory Climate Risk Assessment (PCRA) and Kisumu County Climate Action Plan (CCAP) documents, which highlight the community’s climate change adaptation priorities. 

"All the county government departments should prioritise and implement mainstreamed climate actions as outlined in the third generation Kisumu County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP III)," he said.

World Bank in collaboration with the governments of Denmark and Sweden gave Kenya funds to finance locally-led climate actions (FLLoCA) programme. 

Kisumu county government received Sh273 million Climate Resilience Investment Grants from the FLLoCA programme. 

The came after a total of Sh11 million in institutional strengthening grants were disbursed in the financial year 2022/2023.

The county government has also dedicated two percent of its development budget amounting to Sh100 million in the financial year 2023/2024 to finance climate change initiatives. 

Joseph said that SusWatch Kenya under the Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) programme, civil society organisations in collaboration with the local community have developed climate finance tracking tools to monitor the allocation and utilisation of climate finances in Kisumu county. 

"The tool offers a systematic approach to monitor and evaluate the allocation and utilisation of climate finances at the ward level. Through this tool, communities will actively track ward climate change project implementation and fund utilisation both online and offline," he said.

He explained that the tool incorporates sampled direct and indirect climate actions from various county departments, with itemized budgets configured in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS). 

"This will facilitate transparent and verifiable expenditures, aligning with standard codes. The CSOs, together with the community, will update the tracking tool quarterly, ensuring timely and accurate reporting to facilitate decision-making and enhance accountability," he said. 

Ruth Otieno of TIPO Oganda, a CBO in Kisumu urged the county government should prioritise public participation to address the effects of climate change.