The Council

Director of ProgramsI would like to take this opportunity to appreciate all of you for gracing this occasion on a beautiful morning here in Nairobi City County.

More specifically, I would also like to sincerely thank the UNDP and by extension the UN team for their support to ensure success of this very crucial meeting.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen
As you are aware Kenya was among the 189 countries worldwide that endorsed the United Nations Millennium Declaration in New York in September 2000, which led to the adoption of the eight time-bound Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with 21 targets and 60 indicators to be achieved by 2015. 
 
Kenya’s experience with MDGs needs to be understood within the context of the economic, demographic and political trajectory of the country, both internally and with regards to international relations. In the years prior to the MDG period, Kenya was struggling to provide basic services and support development coupled with freeze in bilateral aid, indebtedness and the political agitation for multiparty democracy. This resulted in widespread dilapidation of roads, power infrastructure, health care facilities, schools and government offices. A growing population demanded improved services, and the Government had struggled to meet its obligations hence was obliged to sign into any international development framework that brought with it the promise of development assistance. The MDG process had no traction until 2004, when work started on preparations for the MDGs+5 summit. With increased lobbying from various development partners the Government of Kenya agreed to implement “Mainstreaming MDGs in Kenya’s Development Process” with an implementation unit established under the Ministry of Finance. Its objective was to mainstream MDGs in the planning, budgetary and development processes. Under this project, one of the first actions taken by the Government was a cost study that sought to establish a budget for achieving the MDGs. The study identified a financing gap of Ksh 4.1 trillion almost four times larger than the annual national budget this was quite unachievable to say the least.
 
A cabinet directive in 2005 required all ministries to mainstream MDGs in their policies, programmes, budgets and operations. This brought the MDGs into a more central position in the country’s development process including the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation 2003 – 2007. By 2009, sectoral planning units had been trained on MDG mainstreaming, and Government required each Ministry to ensure that at least two MDGs or core poverty related projects were explicitly reflected in their programmes, targets and reporting; further Kenya Vision 2030, and the first Medium Term Plan (MTP I) 2008 – 2012 and second Medium Term Plan (MTP II) 2013 – 2017 were augured on the need for achievement of the MDGs. Despite apparently greater traction, however, progress towards the achievement of MDG goals remained slow. 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen
In summary, the MDG period saw a fairly unsuccessful struggle to move away from the notion that the framework was an externally driven means to guide development assistance. However, Kenya played a significant role in the development of post-2015 MDG and SDG frameworks. This was compatible with the desire of the new leadership to be more proactive in the negotiation of international agreements. At the United Nations General Assembly Sustainable Development Summit on September 2015, member states adopted 17 SDGs and 169 targets with over 300 indicators. These goals redefine international development cooperation for the next 15 years, beginning 1 January 2016. While the present consultations around MDGs and SDGs might mean that Governments will identify themselves more closely with the new framework, it does not mean that the framework will adequately reflect the views of the poor. The people of Kenya are asking how the new framework will influence the policies that affect their daily lives. They want to know how it will contribute to the realization of rights, and to providing human dignity to Kenyans.
The fundamental changes introduced by the Constitution are likely to have far reaching effects on how the development agenda will be achieved. Devolution, the key aspect on which the constitution is hinged will alter the expectations of the Kenyan population because of their ever increasing demands and transient nature hence we need to consider this.  At stake is the role of the County Governments which are closer to the people. Further to this are the devolved functions which have a nexus with the SDGs:
•SDG 1 on Poverty eradication is the very core on why devolution was established-to reduces inequalities and marginalization;
•SDG 2 on  achieving food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture is intertwined with the Agriculture function which is devolved;
•SDG 2 is on Health also a devolved function and the Counties have a key mandate to  ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages;
•SDG 3 outlines Education  and the counties have a role to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all this will be attained through laying a basic foundation in provision of the Early Childhood Education;
•SDG 4 is on Women  and the need to Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls especially linked with  with role of Counties in ensuring and coordinating the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level and capacity building of their administrative capabilities;
•SDG 6 on Water is on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, both soil and water conservation as well as water and sanitation services are devolved;
•SDG 7 on Energy is on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for all.  As you are aware electricity and gas reticulation and energy regulation are devolved function.
The interconnection is further established along SDGS 8 to 17.Hence it is upon us to build on what we have already attained within the last three years and further usurp what the Country was able to achieve in the MDG era.
 
As we participate in this forum, let us embrace the fact that whereas Counties have taken up their mandated roles as outlined in devolved functions , most of us have not developed a guiding policy framework, strategy, tools, and mechanisms to sustainably achieve the SDGs. This is an opportunity to come up with a clear framework on the role of counties. In this regard, our way forward must incorporate practical guidance to mainstreaming of SDGS with the key being sustainable planning as the first key step to guide on this. This was also one of the resolutions during the recently concluded third annual devolution conference.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
The government of Kenya has prepared “the roadmap to SDGS”. This strategy that will guide the country in the next 15 years. It focus mainly on the strategies that have been identified as crucial to the successful take off of the SDGs and have to be implemented in order to ensure an effective transition from MDGs to SDGs.  As a way forward the Ministry of devolution and Planning has requested for the input of the County Governments who are key partners in the implementation of SDGs.
 
As we delve into our discussions today I challenge each one of us to understand the interdependence between the two levels of Government. This has been extensively augmented in in Article 6(2) and Article 189 as well on the objects and principles of devolution. 
 
There has been a background to various discussions with the Council of Governors clearly outlining that coordination of the implementation of the SDGs within the County Governments will be at the Council of Governors level. The Council has the mandate to provide a mechanism for consultation amongst county governments, share information on performance of the counties in execution of their functions, facilitate capacity building for governors and county governments and consider reports from other intergovernmental forums on national and county interests amongst other functions. 
 
We intend to ensure constructive sharing of lessons and best practices amongst the counties, coordinated capacity building and well-structured reporting and monitoring mechanisms of SDGs implementation. 
 
We fully welcome to collaborative discussions along the established agencies at the summit level and even sectoral engagements along the intergovernmental forums. I challenge you to consider the new dispensation and to inform a clear way forward in the devolution era. 
 
I wish you all fruitful deliberations on the same.
Thank You!!!
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