European Union allocates Euro 13 Billion for drought risk management

The European Union has provided an additional EUR 13 million, about KSh 1.69 billion, as part of continued support towards enhancing resilience of communities in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) to drought and other effects of climate change.

The funding has been provided through the ‘Dryland Climate Action for Community Drought Resiliencea 4-year project implemented by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) under the Ministry of East African Community, the ASALs and Regional Development.

Drought remains a big threat to Kenya’s economic growth. In ASALs, frequent and severe droughts and other climate shocks continue to undermine the food security of communities. For instance, the current prolonged drought following five consecutive rainfall seasons has caused loss of livelihoods and displacement of populations.

During the launch the Prime Cabinet Secretary H.E. Dr. Musalia Mudavadi, EGH stated that Kenya is vulnerable to natural calamities, with drought cases becoming more frequent in recent years as the impacts of global climate change worsen. He pointed out that droughts now pose a serious danger to the growth of our country.

“The effects of drought can be very cruel. As there is no honour in poverty, it breeds poverty. In addition to battling the drought, we are restoring dignity to these communities.” he said.

Unfortunately, increasing climate variability means that more frequent and intense droughts are expected, particularly in the ASALs. This will have huge implications on food security, nutrition, and long-term development. Thus, the new EU funding seeks to support ASAL communities and ecosystems to achieve greater resilience and improved food security. Towards this, the project will focus on leveraging innovative partnerships to increase the scale, effectiveness and relevance of drought preparedness, response and recovery.

Speaking during the project launch in Nairobi, Cabinet Secretary Hon. Rebecca Miano noted that Kenya has made significant progress in managing drought risk.

“We attribute much of this progress to a policy shift which informed the establishment of the NDMA as a dedicated and specialised institution to coordinate drought risk management. We appreciate that the consistent EU support over the years has enabled us to stay the cause in the shift towards better management of drought risks,” the CS said.

CS Miano singled out the special relationship the EU enjoys with the NDMA stemming from the fact that it supported establishment of the Authority. She thanked the EU for providing support to cushion livelihoods during the current drought, during which the NDMA has spent more than KSh 820 Million of EU funds to provide more than 200,000 bags of specially formulated livestock feeds; truck water in 15 counties; distribute more than 200 water storage tanks (10,000 litres) in 14 counties; support health outreaches and mass screening in 8 counties; provide food-for-fees in 20 schools to facilitate retention of students from vulnerable backgrounds in Marsabit County: and peace meetings in 8 counties to encourage resource sharing.

The additional funding is provided under the National Multiannual Indicative Programme for Kenya for the 2021-2027 period, which seeks to promote sustainable development by contributing to the country’s green transition and digital transformation. The project builds on the experiences and achievements of previous EU support to drought risk management in Kenya since 2007 NDMA since the Authority’s establishment in 2011.

European Union Ambassador to Kenya Ms Henriette Gerger, said that the new project would concentrate on leveraging creative partnerships to expand the scope, effectiveness, and relevance of drought preparedness, response, and recovery with EU support.

NDMA Board Chairman Mr. Raphael Nzomo, commended the European Union for being Kenya’s biggest and most reliable ally in drought risk management. He lauded the European Union for providing the NDMA with the pioneering support that enabled it to explore and improve drought risk management approaches and processes.

The European Union has been one of Kenya’s key and consistent partners in drought risk management for the last 15 years, injecting more than EURO 65 million (about KSh 7.8 billion) through the NDMA. The EU support has broadly focused on; policy and institutional building; strengthening drought management systems and mechanisms and mainstreaming drought response and preparedness into development planning.