The County Government of Kisumu has started a series of climate change vulnerability assessments across the county as part of its mapping and adaptation Plan process.
The process was launched earlier today by the CEC member for Water Environment Climate Change and Natural resources Ms Meryline Agwa at a ceremony that brought together representatives of the ward climate change committee members and CBOs. The goal of the initiative, supported by the Slum dwellers initiative (SDI) Kenya via Muungano wa wanaviji is to better understand the impacts of the climate change in informal settlements level in order to build adaptative capacity and resilience in the context of the forthcoming County adaptation plans.
Seven wards including Railways, kondele manyatta A and B, Nyalenda A and B are identified for the vulnerability assessments guided by the National Adaptation Plan ( NAP) Framework.
According to the CEC member Ms. Agwa, local communities county wide are already affected by the impacts of climate change, such as increasing rainfall variability, heat waves, floods, and droughts. In addition, the CEC noted that there is growing evidence that the social–economic and cultural lifestyles of these communities are also being impacted. For instance, livelihoods in the informal settlements are currently being disrupted as many settlements face the threat of frequent and more intense flood surges, erosion, and inundation, all of which have compelled the removal and resettlement of whole communities.
To kick off the series of vulnerability assessments, a stakeholder and data-gathering workshop was held to spearhead the assessment. The SDI Kenya Monitoring and Evaluation manager Ms. Jane Wairutu noted that the seven wards are fast-urbanizing, and the implications for climate change impacts are already visible within the settlements.
Efforts to explore vulnerabilities and to take proactive actions in the initiative are fully supported by Maseno University as a research institution. Prof. George Waga of Maseno University underscored that the initiative is timely and critical adding that Climate change impacts are place- and context-specific, and it is important that the unique attributes of informal settlements are carefully studied and understood to inform the development of appropriate adaptation responses.
The Prof. Waga also explained that in addition to understanding climate impacts in local communities, the assessments could encourage broader community participation in climate action at the local level.
The county director climate change also noted that by focusing on individual wards within the settlements is a way to dispel assumption that climate change impacts are homogeneous and that adaptation strategies can be one-size-fits-all.