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FEATURE: Kenya’s progress in monitoring, reporting and verifying its climate actions

CDKN supported the Government of Kenya to help accelerate progress on planning for NDC implementation, using the NDC Quick-Start Guide. ClimateCare’s Tom Owino shares results and recommendations from the project.

With the ratification of the Paris Agreement and submission of its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Kenya has shown the global community how it is going to address climate change, and with what support. Now, Kenya’s attention is shifting to action.

Kenya’s Climate Change Act (2016) puts in place the structures and framework for implementing the NDC, including establishing a coordinating body: the Climate Change Directorate. The Act calls for National Climate Change Action Plans (NCCAPs) every five years, and the country is now preparing its second one (2018-2022).

In the first such five-year plan, a Monitoring, Verification and Reporting (MRV+) system was proposed for Kenya to effectively measure, report and verify its climate actions. This would sit within a wider National Performance and Benefit Measurement Framework. Some of the framework components have been implemented, however there are significant challenges to successfully implementing a full MRV+ system. Particular effort is required to define clear roles and responsibilities for MRV at different levels of government: because Kenya’s national government has devolved significant power to the county level. The second National Climate Change Action Plan will cover NDC implementation and build on the existing elements of the MRV+ system.

In line with these national goals, CDKN supported the Government of Kenya for six months in 2017 to develop a shared understanding of Kenya’s current ‘readiness’ for MRV – and to identify specific measures to include in the MRV component of Kenya’s NDC Implementation Plan. The CDKN project identified several challenges and opportunities.

First, while Kenya’s policy and planning processes, legal framework and institutional structures, together with a financing mechanism for climate action have been defined and implementation has started, they are not yet fully operational. Second, while Kenya’s mitigation objectives in the NDC are specific, measurable and time-bound, the adaptation objectives are broader and are therefore likely to present significant MRV challenges. A lack of awareness and technical skills on MRV among key stakeholders is also a pressing issue. Therefore, current institutional, technical and financial resources and capabilities for MRV need to be further developed to meet the requirements of the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris Agreement (which requires countries to regularly measure and report on their emissions, adaptation efforts and any support received for climate action) and the proposed Kenyan MRV+ system.

So what does this mean for implementing an effective MRV system in Kenya? Through a consultative process with the Government of Kenya, the following three broad action areas for the MRV Implementation Plan were identified:

  1. Strengthening national institutions in Kenya for MRV and transparency-related activities in line with Kenya’s national priorities.
  2. Improving MRV of land-based emissions, through enhancing the System for Land-Based Emission Estimation in Kenya (SLEEK) programme. This programme aims to provide data to drive development in Kenya’s agricultural sector, food security and natural resource management.
  3. Enhancing coordination between national, regional and global transparency-related activities in Kenya.

To address these areas, the following key activities were proposed:

  1. Finalising the institutional set-up for coordination of the national MRV activities at the Climate Change Directorate, as required by Kenya’s Climate Change Act (2016).
  2. Conducting awareness creation and training activities for key stakeholders in government and the public sector, civil society and the private sector, with a special focus on devolved county governments where a significant proportion of climate action is expected to take place.
  3. Developing a common framework for tracking and reporting on climate action at the national, county and sectoral levels, and for ensuring alignment with the NDC.
  4. Establishing formal data collection and sharing arrangements, including Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), between data suppliers and users, and ensuring adequate quality assurance and control of the data.
  5. Providing adequate budgetary allocation for MRV activities.
  6. Establishing climate action (mitigation and adaptation) registries and systems for the coordination of climate action, and for assessing and tracking the effectiveness of the actions, together with climate finance that has been allocated to them.

While the CDKN project has ended, it has provided some key practical next steps for implementing a robust MRV system in Kenya, as well as a useful resource for finalising Kenya’s second National Climate Change Action Plan. The findings have also been shared with other donor-funded projects focusing on similar issues.

Find out more about this project and similar work undertaken in Uganda and Zambia to support NDC implementation. You can also read about some of these country’s early experiences and lessons related to NDC implementation shared at a two-day learning exchange in Kampala, Uganda in 2017.

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