NDMA managers engage visitors at the Authority’s stand during the European Development Days in Brussels, Belgium.

 

The NDMA participated in this year’s European Development Days (EDD) forum held in Brussels, where it showcased Kenya’s pre-positioned fund for drought response. The EDD is an annual forum organised by the European Commission and brings together the development community to share ideas and experiences. 

During the forum, the NDMA showcased a fund established by Kenya Government to ensure that resources are always available for quick action before a drought deteriorates. Establishment of the National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEF) with initial Ksh 2 billion Government contribution is based on evidence that early action protects lives, livelihoods and reduces the high cost of emergency response.  

The NDEF is a multi-donor basket fund that allows contribution of funds from both the Kenya Government and development partners. It is designed to allow the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) to respond fast in drought-affected areas. 

 Such a fund has been a policy objective in Kenya for many years. It is provided for within Kenya’s Sessional Paper   No. 8 of 2012 on the National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands   (popularly referred to as the ASAL Policy) and the National Drought Management Authority Act, 2016.

 The Fund reflects Kenya’s wider policy shift towards risk management rather than crisis management-based lessons   learnt from the 2008-2011 drought during which estimated losses and damages stood at US$ 12.1 billion   (approximately Ksh 969 billion at the time). 

 Previously, financing for drought response was only available through re-allocation of funds already earmarked for   other activities. This was counter-productive because it took resources away from the long-term development that   should enhance resilience to drought. 

 More than 80% of Kenya is classified as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) and is prone to climate shocks,   particularly  droughts. Droughts destroy livelihoods in ASALareas and can easily destroy lives if appropriate and   adequate actions are not taken, undermining national development. These impacts are likely to worsen with climate   change. 

The NDEF is, therefore, an innovative way of ensuring that finance for early response to drought episodes is always available when needed. It will also facilitate resilience building, preparedness and timely response to drought during different stages to reduce and minimise negative effects.

The NDEF builds on a pilot initiative funded through a European Union grant. Between 2014 and 2018, the NDMA disbursed Euro 24.8 million (Ksh 2.7 billion) of this
 contingency financing to 23 ASAL counties.  

The contingency finances enabled the NDMA to successfully pilot and   test the use of set-aside finances, which has been hailed as the first institutionalised attempt in Kenya to address   the onset of drought using pre-positioned funds. 

 The EDD provided a very good opportunity for experience sharing with other development agencies.