Mukuru, Kenya, 4 September 2023
Community Leaders from Mukuru, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi, showcased some of the early initiatives from their People’s Adaptation Plan to a visiting international delegation today. The delegation included Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair, Global Center on Adaptation (GCA); Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO, GCA and Distinguished Chair of The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies; Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark; and Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, France.
In 2017 the residents of Mukuru undertook an ambitious, ground-breaking participatory upgrading process known as the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA). Since then, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) has worked with the Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) and the residents of Mukuru to produce Locally Led Planning: A Guide for Building Climate Resilience in Urban Informal Settlements. The Guide captured lessons and practices from the groundbreaking work implemented by the community and local government in Mukuru and formed the basis for the “People’s Adaptation Plan.”
The work in Mukuru to improve water management, roads and sanitation as part of the People’s Adaptation Plan, shows how locally led action can unlock the enormous potential and creativity of communities to develop and implement solutions, while catalyzing adaptation that is more effective and equitable, and better targeted at local needs.
Speaking during the visit, 8th United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that:
“Climate change may be a global phenomenon but its impacts are felt locally. So it follows that solutions to this global crisis also have to be local. I commend the people of Mukuru for their innovative work and look forward to seeing it replicated elsewhere.”
During the visit, the delegation learned more about the locally-led planning process in Mukuru and visited some of the places where the Nairobi City County Government has implemented elements of the People’s Adaptation Plan.
The GCA is supporting the implementation of the People’s Adaptation Plan in Mukuru by brokering an agreement between the African Development Bank (under the Nairobi Rivers Basin Rehabilitation and Restoration Program) and Dan Church Aid to support Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farming for waste management under the AAAP. Organic waste, which makes up for 70% of the waste in Mukuru, will be used to raise BSF larvae, which will then be turned into fodder for livestock through a collaboration with a private sector company. BSF farming provides a unique solution to the problem of waste and flood management in Mukuru, and at the same time helps address the fodder shortage in Kenya, the result of the ongoing drought. During the visit, GCA CEO Patrick Verkooijen announced that thanks to French and Danish support the GCA will support the setting up of ten Black Soldier Fly units in Mukuru.
Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark, who is a member of the GCA Advisory Board and has supported the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program since its inception said: “Climate adaptation is urgently needed in Africa and solutions must target the most vulnerable. Locally-led adaptation is a key priority for Denmark and the activities we have seen in Mukuru today really shows the power of engaging the community.”
Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, France also accepted an invitation from 8th Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chair of GCA to join the GCA Advisory Board. Speaking about the impact of GCA’s work she said: “France and the European Union are deeply committed to supporting local communities, such as the people of Mukuru, in implementing their adaptation plans. We believe in local solutions with international support, and that is exactly what we have seen here today.”
The People’s Planning process, which was conducted in Mukuru through a collaboration between Nairobi City County Government, Civil Society Organizations, academics and the community, offers a blueprint for locally led planning for climate change. The GCA is supporting peer-to-peer learning to replicate the process for adaptation in other informal settlements in Africa and Bangladesh. For instance, a delegation of government, non-government and World Bank representatives from Monrovia, Liberia, are in Nairobi this week to learn more about the Mukuru planning process and are conducting a similar process in informal settlements in Monrovia. The resulting People’s Adaptation Plan developed in Monrovia will inform investments under the World Bank’s Liberia Urban Resilience Project. The GCA is also supporting the development of People’s Adaptation Plans in Senegal, Rwanda and Bangladesh under the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP), to inform investments by multilateral and bilateral financial institutions.
Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation said: “We are committed to ensuring more funding reaches local adaptation efforts and that communities have the support they need to decide how these resources are best deployed. As we have seen today, from the seeds of local adaptation initiatives, big ideas will flourish.”
Nearly 60% of urban residents, and one billion people around the world, live in informal settlements. Residents in these settlements are extremely vulnerable to multiple climate hazards like extreme rainfall, water- and vector-borne diseases, extreme heat, fires and water scarcity. During the heat wave in Nairobi in 2015, for instance, informal settlements were 3-5°C hotter than other parts of the city.