Adaptation actions are key responses designed by countries, states, organizations and communities to address the challenges posed by global warming or climate change. Adaptation actions thus seek to reduce vulnerabilities, build resilience and enhance adaptive capacity against climate change induced shocks. While climate change is expected to create new opportunities in some parts of the world, it is also expected to cause considerable distress. The extent of the impact depends on the magnitude of climatic changes affecting a particular system (exposure), the characteristics of the system (sensitivity), and the ability of people and ecosystems to deal with the resulting effects (adaptive capacities of the system). These three factors determine the vulnerability of the system. Assessing vulnerability to climate change is important for defining the risks posed by climate change and provides information for identifying measures to adapt to climate change impacts. It enables practitioners and decision-makers to identify the most vulnerable areas, sectors and social groups. In turn, this means climate change adaptation options targeted at specified contexts can be developed and implemented.
With the effects of climate change increasingly being felt globally, Kenya is no exception and continue to bear the brunt of climate change. Kenyan vulnerability is further exercebated by her over reliance on climate sensitive social economic sectors like agriculture, tourism, energy among others. The change in the frequency and magnitude of hazard events is increasing and therefore heightening underlying issues of vulnerability and uncertainty. As a result of global warming, climate-related hazards like ﬂoods, droughts, coastal ersosion, heat waves, and storms are expected to become more frequent and/or possibly also more intense. This will result in increasing vulnerability as climate trends will damage livelihoods, environments, and therefore undermine food security and increase poverty . In addition, some climate-related hazards such as droughts, storms, ﬂoods, heat and cold waves will affect places that have not experienced them before.
These incidences not only presents a threat to attainment of vision 2030 and sustainable development goals but also rapidly reverse any gains accrued so far if not adequately addressed through enhancing resilience and adaptative capacity in all sectors in the country. Enhanced climate resilience includes strong economic growth, resilient ecosystems, and sustainable livelihoods for Kenyans. It will also result in reduced climate-induced loss and damage, mainstreamed disaster risk reduction approaches in various sectors, reduced costs of humanitarian aid, and improved knowledge and learning for adaptation and the future protection of the country. Kenya recognizes that all sectors are vulnerable to climate change and thus need to ensure that we adequately prepare, plan and sustainably respond to climate change.
Though climate change is global, the impacts are local, meaning that the local conditions and circumstances disctate the specific priority adaptation options to be applied. The impacts of and the vulnerabilities to climate change can vary across regions (e.g. global, national, subnational), economic sectors (e.g. agriculture, industry, water ), social groups (e.g. urban populations, forest dwellers, coastal communities) or types of system considered (e.g. natural, social, economic, socio-ecological). Solutions to adapt to the effects of climate change take many shapes and forms, depending on the unique context of a community, business/organization, country, region etc., and the specific impacts of climate induced hazard. Given these circumstances, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all-solution when it comes to climate change adaptation.
Kenya has developed and finalized its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) 2015-2030 that aims “to consolidate the country’s vision on adaptation supported by macro-level adaptation actions that relate with the economic sectors and County level vulnerabilities in order to enhance long term resilience and adaptive capacity.” The NAP is the principal guiding planning document for adaptation actions in the country. The NAP is envisioned to help the government move toward achievement of Vision 2030 goals by mainstreaming Climate Change adaptation into planning and action at both national and sub national. This is through implementing the National Climate Change Action Plan by providing guidance on priority actions with a mainstreaming approach under which adaptation and development goals are complementary. This approach is recommended and supported in the Climate Change Act, 2016, National Climate Change Action Plan, Climate Change Framework Policy and the Nationally Determined Contribution as articulated in the Climate Change Framework Policy and Climate Change Act 2016.