UNDP Resident Representative Walid Badawi (R) and Ambassador of Finland Ramses Malaty (L) during the signing ceremony (Photo, Embassy of Finland)

Governments of Finland, Italy and Sweden have committed to supporting national efforts aimed at strengthening sub-national delivery of public services. This was been demonstrated following the signing of agreements to support a UNDP-led intervention “Consolidating Gains and Deepening Devolution in Kenya” – an initiative that supports the Government of Kenya’s agenda aimed at addressing poor county performance and weak governance that have resulted in increased incidences of poverty and low human development in selected parts of the country.

The commitment follows bilateral engagements between UNDP and the development partners on areas of support towards realising a devolved governance system and aligning these with national priorities as spelt out in the “Big Four Agenda”.

UNDP Kenya Resident Representative, Walid Badawi, signed the agreements with Deputy Ambassador Ramses Malaty of Finland on 9 Dec, Ambassador Alberto Pieri of Italy on 4 Dec and Ambassador Anna Jardfelt of Sweden on 25 Nov. The Governments of Finland committed EUR5m, while Italy and Sweden committed EUR0.4m and SEK75m respectively.

“The support of Finland, Italy and Sweden is both very much appreciated and very timely. In the week we launch the Human Development Report 2019, with a central theme of addressing inequalities, we can reflect on the potential of devolution as a powerful policy tool in this regard,” Walid noted.

The project, to be implemented during the period 2020 – 2022, will seek improve capacity of sub-national institutions to enable them plan, budget and implement development programmes better and deliver services to the most vulnerable and poor. It will also improve processes and systems through which public funds are managed, for equitable, efficient and accountable delivery of services, especially to the people of Kenya.

Through this intervention, UNDP will build on its experience as the lead agency for the Integrated Support Programme to the Devolution Process in Kenya (ISPDP) which was implemented between 2014 and 2019, and as the coordinating agency for the ongoing Strengthening Devolved Governance in Kenya project implemented by the Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) with funding support from the Government of Norway.

The intervention, to be implemented jointly with UN Women and UNICEF, will utilize a strong field presence and the UN Agencies’ close relationships with county and national governments and will focus on improving county governance capacity in areas related to poverty reduction and addressing inequality and discrimination. Priority will be given to initiatives that will improve Public Financial Management (PFM), performance monitoring and reporting, resilience to environmental risks, citizen engagement and inclusiveness - especially in strengthening policies addressing issues affecting women, youth, children, persons with disability and other marginalized sub-population groups.  

UNDP will coordinate on areas related to governance, accountability and environment issues, whereas UNICEF and UN Women will lead on the cross-cutting themes of youth and gender respectively.

The Joint Programme will utilize a two-track approach working at both the national and county levels to help ensure policies and government interventions account for issues of poverty though inclusion awhile addressing social inequalities. Interventions under this initiative will reach the most marginalized in Kenya and will specifically target Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Lamu, Tana River, Turkana, Samburu, Kilifi, Kajiado, Narok, West Pokot and Busia counties which have the highest rates of poverty, gender inequality, climate-related risks, and child deprivation.

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