CoG web Admin

CoG web Admin

The 5th Annual Devolution Conference will be held at Kakamega High School, Kakamega County from April 23-27. The Conference popularly known as DEVCON is organized jointly with stakeholders among others National and County Governments, Senate, Development Partners, Media, Ministries, State agencies.
As a result the Steering Committee, which is chaired by H.E Anne Waiguru, Governor Kirinyaga County and chairperson of the DEVCON2018 held two meetings with development partners and the private sector to appraise them on the progress made so far and seek their support in hosting the event. During the two meetings, H.E Anne Waiguru expressed gratitude to the partners for honouring the call terming is as an affirmation that devolution has friends and partners from all over. The Donor and private sector roundtable meetings are held each year to draw in support of partners into the Devolution Conference. The Conference has always been supported differently by different agencies due to its importance and impact to the people.
The Annual conference has for the past four years created an opportunity for peer to peer learning and information sharing. It also provides a perfect opportunity for self-audit and evaluation for processes that will enrich the devolution agenda. Unlike the previous conferences, the 5th Devolution conference this year’s conference takes a sector approach to ensure that there is tangible results from each sector. After deliberations in a Council meeting the Council of Governors identified Health, Agriculture, Trade and Investment and Energy, infrastructure and Urban development as pressing issues that needed intergovernmental address.
Cross cutting issues such as Human Resources, Finance and Accountability have also been put into consideration with two hours plenums for each sector. Donors and the private sector have also come on board and asked for the consideration of issues in gender mainstreaming and water.
Considering that all citizens cannot be part of the main conference, the committee has also organised County Dialogues. They are forums that’s give the citizens a platform to discuss issues that will be discussed during the conference. The dialogues have always been held before the devolution conference as a build but and a strategy to collate information of issues that are affecting the citizens at the County level. The involvement of technocrats in the private sector and donors in the sectorial planning committees has transformed the conference to handle technical issues affecting the people.

Council of Governors Chairman and Governor of Turkana County H.E Josphat Nanok has urged global players to support an integrated and sustainable approach to refugee and host community settlements development. While speaking at the 9th World Urban Forum, the Governor noted that the new approach currently being implemented in Kalobeyei area in Turkana County, will minimize environmental degradation, create livelihood opportunities, improve access to social services and enhance social cohesion among the refugee and host communities while transforming refugee camps into sustainable human settlements. Kalobeyei settlement has been designed to accommodate over 80,000 refugees and is expected to have adequate infrastructure and services that support both refugee and host populations. “Infrastructure planning is completed and the County Government is contemplating classifying kakuma-kalobeyei area as a municipality. We are facing water challenges in Kalobeyei but we are exploring several options for water sources for the settlement” added the Governor. This year’s World Urban Forum took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This year’s theme “Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda” aims to resonate to the realisation of the vision of cities in the year 2030, embedded in the Sustainable Development Goal 11, where no one should be left behind from the urban advantages and opportunities.
County Governors, led by the Chairman sat with heads of states, high-level national and sub-national government representatives at the same table with representatives of the civil society, experts and the private sector, to discuss policies and actions, synergies and innovative solutions for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, and to review and exchange mechanisms for its effective scale up.

The Council of Governors represented by the Chairman, H.E Jospaht Nanok (Turkana County), H.E Paul Chepkwony (Kericho County), H.E Dr. Joyce Laboso (Bomet County), H.E Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri County) and Deputy Governor H.E Adelina Mwau held a follow up consultative meeting with Melinda Gates Foundation representative Mr. Samburu Wa Shiku , Resident Consultant to Melinda Gates Foundation in Kenya and Mr. Sam Mulyanga, Project Director, JHIPEGO together with the Council of Governors Health Committee representatives. This was a follow up meeting to a meeting held between Ms. Melinda Gates and 15 County Governors on 25th January 2018 at the Norfolk Hotel Nairobi. During the meeting, the Chairman appreciated Melinda Gates Foundation for reaching out to the Counties through the County Governors stating that the County Governments are focused to work together with the Foundation for the benefit of Kenyans. The Foundation and the County Governments present an opportunity for partnership in Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA 2020) which already covers 11 counties in addressing the issue of data. The Project uses innovative mobile technology to routinely gather data on family planning, water, sanitation and hygiene and other health areas. PMA 2020 provides rich information useful for reporting, planning, operational decisions that will be able to support counties in strengthening data collection and use in budgeting.
Other key areas of focus for further discussion include: Investing in family planning, community health, nutrition and education to uplift the socio-economic status of households; Targeting the youth in and out of school with the right information on sexuality responsible adulthood to empower and save young girls from unwanted pregnancies; Strengthening the collection, processing and utilization of reliable data and revamping health records management; and Exploiting the policy environment for family planning as a national development priority. The Council of Governors will convene a meeting with the County Executive Members (CEC’s) to brief them and share their key priorities for consideration by the Foundation, in addressing county-specific needs in the context of the Gates Foundation of the key four areas.

The Parklands Baptist Church recognized the Council of Governors for the support and invaluable partnership in the fulfilment of the Great Commission in Kenya and Africa during the 2017 pre- election period. The award was received by a team on behalf of COG by Rose Chebet, Evelynne Bii, Martina Ngira, Mercy Gatabi and Agnes Musyoka during a colourful ceremony held at Parklands Baptist on 16th December on 2017. The Ministry of Health also appreciated the Council of Governors for the support accorded to them to enable them achieve their goals. Health being a devolved function and a very important sector, the County Governments works hand in hand and accord any support necessary to the Ministry of Health to help achieve the main health goal which is 'Better health service delivery to every Kenyan.'

The recognition award was received by the Council of Governors on 28th June 2017.

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 09:32

BOOST TO TOURISM AS STAKEHOLDERS MEET

The Council of Governor’s Tourism and Wildlife Committee held a consultative forum from 29th- 31st January 2018 at the Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi. The forum provided the County Executive Committee Members (CECs) and County Directors a platform to learn, understand and seek opportunities on how the County Governments can boost tourism. The three day forum brought together stakeholders from the Ministry of Tourism led by the Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Najib Balala, PS Tourism Ms. Fatuma Hirsi and PS Wildlife Dr. Margaret Mwakima, H.E. Samuel Ole Tunai, Chairman of the COG Sectorial Committee on Tourism and Governor of Narok County, CECs in charge of Tourism, County Directors in charge of Tourism and other stakeholders including Tourism Regulatory Authority, Tourism Finance Corporation, Tourism Fund, Kenya Wildlife Services among others. Tourism is a shared function as provided in forth schedule of the Constitution id Kenya 2010.
“The National Government is responsible for developing policies on tourism as well as the protection of animals and wildlife, while County Governments are tasked to deal with cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities which include museums, sports and cultural activities as well as county parks, beaches and recreational facilities,” pointed out H.E Tunai.
In delivering their Mandate, the Chairman of the Council of Governor’s Tourism Committee urged County Governments not to hesitate to seek the support of the Council of Governors. The Committee was constituted to handle all the matters relating to Tourism and Wildlife Management, tourism being a significant sector and a driver of Kenya’s economic development as an Economic Pillar of Vision 2030. H.E Governor Tunai emphasized on the need to use social media in marketing Kenya globally due to its wide reach, efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The Chairman further urged counties to develop County budget proposals that will increase their allocations towards tourism in their counties, come up with plans to develop tourism products and establish mechanisms to curb rampant cases of human-wildlife conflicts. The consultative forum also incorporated presentations and group work sessions among the participants.

The Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Najib Balala closed the forum and encouraged the County Governments to re-package their tourism products. He assured County Governments that the Ministry of Tourism is ready to work together with the Counties to help them towards increasing numbers for both local and international tourism.

Friday, 02 February 2018 06:14

Melinda Gates meets Governors

Ms. Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on January 25th, 2018 met with Excellency Governors of 15 Counties and discussed the importance of quality, regular and timely health data for decision making on resource allocation and overall investment in the health sector. Melinda shared with the Governors the passion and commitment of the Gates Foundation in addressing education, socio-economic, family planning and reproductive health gaps in Kenya. The Foundation recognizes that less educated women tend to have more children more frequently than they would desire due to lack of knowledge and access to family planning commodities and this aggravates the vicious cycle of poverty in disadvantaged families in rural, arid and semi-arid areas. Led by H.E. Josphat Nanok, Chair of the CoG and H.E. Mohamed Kuti, Chair of Health Committee, the Governors shared with Melinda Gates some of the innovations and successes they have achieved in their counties as Government and with support from the Gates Foundation, investing in family planning, community health, nutrition and education to uplift the socio-economic status of households. The meeting recognized that targeting the youth in and out of school with the right information on sexuality responsible adulthood will empower and save young girls from unwanted pregnancies.

With consensus that availability of reliable data is a big gap across counties, the Governors agreed that health records management should be revamped through the use of modern technology in collection, transmission and analysis, including through community health volunteers with simple smart phones. Several counties have already recognized the role of community health workers, some through County Assembly legislation.  

Acknowledging that the policy environment is important for successful family planning programming, the Governors underscored the need for policy makers to speak with one voice and exploit existing policies such as the Sessional Paper No. 3 of 2012 on Population Policy for National Development.

Melinda informed the Governors that the Gates Foundation supports the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA 2020) which uses innovative mobile technology to routinely gather data on family planning and water, sanitation and hygiene and other health areas. PMA2020 provides rich information useful for reporting, planning, operational decisions and will be able to support the Counties in strengthening data collection and use in budgeting.

Despite the many demanding priorities and budget constraints, the Governors shared with Melinda the extent to which the counties have allocated between 20%-30% to health and their desire to take a holistic approach to improve service delivery through evidence-based decision-making. The Governors will therefore close ranks with the Gates Foundation to identify the gaps, use technology to support data generation and use, and invited Melinda to consider visiting one of the counties during her next visit to Kenya in future. The County Governors were from Kericho, Makueni, Kilifi, Isiolo, Turkana, Bomet, West Pokot, Kitui, Kakamega, Siaya, Mandera, Nandi, Bungoma and Nyeri.

The Gates Foundation has been supporting programs on family planning and reproductive health in Kenya through implementing partners in some of these counties and Melinda had selected and invited the 15 Governors through their lead Partner in Kenya, JHPIEGO.

On 15th and 16th January 2018, the Council of Governors through its Land, Planning and Urban Development Committee participated in the National Urban Forum that was held in Nairobi County. The forum brought together stakeholders in the urban sector to review and provide inputs to the already prepared Country Report on the Urban Agenda. The report will inform and guide Kenya’s participation in the 9th session of the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpar Malaysia to be held in March 2018. The theme for the 9th session is; Cities 2030, Cities for all; Implementing the new Urban Agenda. This will be the first global session to focus on implementation of the New Urban Agenda since its adoption in 2016.

The forum provided an opportunity for the participating stakeholder to understand the various projects that the government had initiated to ensure that the Agenda is implemented. Some of these projects are on national housing, solid waste management, slum upgrading, road construction and provision of alternative building materials. It was however noted that most of the projects are devolved functions and that County Governments should be undertaking. Therefore, it was agreed that for any subsequent programmes addressing matters of planning, housing and urban development in the counties, the county governments will be highly involved.

While making his remarks, H.E Ferdinand Waititu who is the Chairman, Land, Planning and Urban Development Committee of the Council of Governors and Governor Kiambu County insisted on the role of County Governments as key implementers of the new Urban Agenda. The Agenda calls for the provision of adequate, affordable, accessible, resource efficient, safe, resilient, well-connected, and well-located housing with special attention to the proximity factor and the strengthening of the spatial relationship with the rest of the urban fabric and the surrounding functional areas. He urged the two levels of Government to work in harmony in order to deliver this good agenda to the citizens in the Counties.

The dialogues in the National Urban forum were centered on an integrated territorial approach to sustainable development, cities for all and housing at the center and innovative governance for open and inclusive cities among others. The discussions are timely considering that virtually all Counties will become highly urbanized soon. It’s a high time for Counties to therefore take into consideration implementation of the New Urban Agenda to revitalize cities and urban areas to become the main tool for sustainable development. Consequently, County plans, policies and laws must translate into action so as to achieve this agenda.

Stakeholders and especially County Governments were encouraged to adopt the Integrated Territorial Approaches (ITAs) which is a pro-active implementation-oriented package of intervention. ITAs aim is to make room for new land use functions, rearrange land ownership and use and convert areas into new ways of functioning. With this new approach, it is essential to involve National and County Governments in development since most actions needed to achieve the SDGs are often local in nature such as social welfare policies and improved urban planning.

The Council will forge on to enhance positive collaboration between the National Government and the County Governments in sustainable urbanization in order to deliver Kenya as a regional, continental and global trend setter in this arena.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 10:04

COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS PRE-SUMMIT MEETING

The Council of Governors on 23rd January 2018 held a consultative meeting at the Council of Governors offices to discuss pressing issues ahead of the planned Summit meeting. “The meeting which is the first after the election of the new Council of Governors in Kwale County last year, was graced by guests from State Department of Trade, Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), World Bank, Brand Kenya and County Pension Fund (CPF),” confirmed the Chairman H.E. Josphat Nanok in a statement. The summit meeting is a constitutional intergovernmental platform where the Governors meet with the president to discuss a way forward on pressing issues affecting counties. The Key issues discussed during the meeting include EACC media report on the appointment of CECs, trade branding of Counties, revenue allocation, short-term borrowing framework for counties, duplication of funds and the County Pension Bill 2017. According to media reports, County Executives did not comply in filing their declaration forms. EACC engaged the Council of Governors on the issue and the two organisations have had preliminary engagements and agreed they will agree on modalities of engaging the same.

“We have agreed we will agree on modalities of engaging on the same moving forward.” said HE Nanok.

The Country is currently heavily depending on imports to quell its food deficit. There is a huge shortage of agricultural wholesale markets with no modern facilities, weak supply chain management, lack of market information and manipulation by brokers and middlemen. This has led to losses to farmers and recurring food shortage in the Country. In this regard, the Council of Governors is focused to ensure that the situation is improved to ensure that wholesale markets are modernised, development of the national commodity exchange, diversification of products and markets among other measures.

The Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 gives the Counties powers to borrow either for infrastructure projects or for short-term basis for the purposes of cash flow management. County Governments have for the last four years been hard-pressed to deliver on their functions due to the slow disbursement of funds and lack of a borrowing framework for both short-term and long-term hence a lot of services have been slowed or some left un-attended to altogether. It is on this basis that the Council extended a hand to work with the National Government through the National Treasury to fast-track the finalization of the short-term borrowing framework specifically to ensure that essential services are not delayed i.e. personnel emoluments and statutory deductions.

On duplication of functions, the County Governments urged both levels of government to move towards prioritization of their constitutionally mandated functions. It is in this regard that the Council once again extends an olive leaf/ branch to the national government to allow us have a closure on this issue.

The Participatory Budgeting approach adopted by the five (5) Counties i.e Makueni, West Pokot, Kilifi, Kakamega and Baringo, have made their participatory processes more inclusive while at the same time ensuring that citizens’ voices are represented in objective and structured processes. Participatory Budgeting is the process of directly involving local people in decision making on the priorities and spending for a defined amount of the public budget. The uniqueness of Participatory Budgeting, is that decisions that citizens make on the defined portion of the budget are final, and are included in the budget. The other unique aspect of the participation model is, in some counties once the community members prioritize projects, the citizens are involved citizens in overseeing the implementation of the projects. This ensures accountability as the community members provide checks and oversight alongside the County Assembly.

Through participatory budgeting (PB), there has been greater inclusivity of citizens in the budget formulation and through the process communities at the very grassroots have had an increased opportunity to participate in decision making. We have seen an increase of persons with disabilities in Makueni County and women participation in West Pokot County from a meager 11% to 35% of participants. The PB process has also facilitated compliance with the legal requirements for public participation included in the County Governments Act, 2012 and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 in a meaningful way. PB avoids fragmented public participation that results in repetitive and overlapping activities which are costly in terms of participants’ and organizers’ time and resources. One of the success story of the process is the Siyoi milk cooling plant, initially funded through local residential contributions, the West Pokot County Government took up the request to support the construction of the projects in FY 2014/15 through the public participation process.

In October 2015, under the Kenya Accountability Devolution Program (KADP), the World Bank in collaboration with the Council of Governors held its first Participatory Budgeting workshop for the 47 counties at the Kenya School of Government. Two years later, the program has now expanded from the initial five (5) County Governments to a total of Fourteen (14). The Participatory Budgeting Design workshop held on 5th-8th December, 2017 enabled the 5 Counties that had taken part in phase 1 (Makueni, West Pokot, Kwale, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo) to share their learning and experience with the additional 9 Counties i.e Nakuru, Embu, Laikipia, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Mandera and Kajiado as they contextualize the Participatory Budgeting approach in their County.

Some of the aspects covered by the training were: principles and practice of PB; key opportunities and constraints for counties; the institutional framework for PB in Kenya; the 10 step model of PB implementation; project planning, and goal setting, evaluation and impact assessment within PB; the challenges of real community empowerment; mobilizing for PB and developing effective communication plans.

A noteworthy deviation from previous training was the use of the draft PB manual – developed from the experiences of counties in Kenya. County representatives were invited to review and validate the manual which will be finalized with their inputs in the coming months. The training of County local team on the Participatory Budgeting approach is set to begin in February 2018.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 08:14

EXPANDING INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS IN TRADE

As part of his first official duties as the Chairman, Trade Committee, H.E Wycliffe Wangamati today made a courtesy call to the Principal Secretary (PS), State Department of Trade Dr. Chris Kiptoo to discuss future engagements between the Department and County Governments. Speaking during the meeting H.E Wangamati acknowledged the fact that trade is one of the core pillars of the Kenyan economy and one of the key factors that has earned the country major partnerships both locally and internationally with various stakeholders. He also noted that the current County administrators are keen on ensuring that the trade sector improves both in service delivery and revenue generation to benefit the County Governments and locals.
Dr. Kiptoo indicated that the State Department of Trade has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Council of Governors and the County Governments. He appreciated the role that County governments played in the development of the trade E-portal. The portal he noted was significant for Counties to market their products and showcase the quantities of commodities available within their regions. “It equally projects investment opportunities, thus moving forward, this partnership will be useful in getting real-time data on trade and investment from the counties.” Dr. Kiptoo said.
In his projection for the department’s future plans, Dr. Kiptoo alluded to plans of organizing bi-annual conference for the sector. In the meeting, all players and actors in trade will discuss pertinent issues affecting the sector and propose measures for the growth to enable the country become a “Middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030.”
Both parties agreed to work in consultation with each other to ensure that issues relating to the trade sector are well addressed. In recognition of the fact that trade is an economic enabler, the Council of Governors has proposed to host a trade sector meeting in the upcoming 5th Devolution Conference.

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