Towards stronger and more effective County Spatial Planning

December 2, 2019

Delivered by Mandisa Mashologu, UNDP Kenya Deputy Resident Representative - Programmes

The Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Governors, Ms. Jacqueline Mogeni;

The Team Leader – Economic Development at DFID in Kenya, Mr. Mike Foster;

The National Land Commission Representative:

Director Physical Planning, Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development Representative Mr. Augustine Masinde;

UNHABITAT Representative, Mr. Thomas Chiramba;

The Director AICAD, Mr. Dominic Byarugaba;

Distinguished Guests;

Trainees from the counties;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Habari ya Asubuhi, Good morning!

It is gives me great pleasure to join you today as we formally launch this inaugural training on application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for County Spatial planning.

The UNDP Kenya Resident Representative – Walid Badawi – could not be here today due other commitments but I assure you that remain a steadfast and trusted partner to Kenya and its people. We certainly value our partnership and collaboration with you as drivers of development – and I am pleased to represent him today on this occasion.

At the very outset, I wish to acknowledge our esteemed partners who have made it possible for us to deliver this important training. We acknowledge and thank DFID, our reliable partner for providing resources through the Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) the project under which this training is implemented.

I also wish to acknowledge the Government of Kenya, represented here today by the Council of Governors, the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, and the various Counties for continued partnership and engagement.  UNDP re-affirms our commitment to supporting Kenya realize her ambitious developmental aspirations, as guaranteed by the Constitution and the robust planning instruments, namely the Vision 2030; the 3rd Medium Term Plan; and the Big 4 Agenda.

I also wish to acknowledge our sister agency UN-Habitat, who we have partnered with to deliver this training. Our coming together exemplifies the UN ‘Delivering-as-One’, model for a stronger impact, as articulated by the UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres. This training has brought together two UN agencies, utilizing their unique and specialized mandates to respond to a clear developmental gap, in a unique and collaborative manner.

I also take note that this partnership has extended to bring in other specialized Inter-governmental capacity building entities – the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD).

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As UNDP, we are committed to partnering with the national and County Governments, through vibrant structures including the Council of Governors; and all the other stakeholders to in harnessing, the very best that devolution can, and is indeed, already offering at all levels of engagement. In-line with our global Strategic Plan and the CPD 2018-22 UNDP in Kenya focuses on integrated and inter-linked programmatic interventions to support Kenya’s development trajectory. As a country office, we contribute to the overall UN support and Assistance Framework (UNDAF) through three programmatic areas (Governance, Inclusive Growth & structural Transformation; Environment, Climate change & Resilience) aligned with the Vision 2030, MTPIII and the Big 4 Agenda.

Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen

As we gather here to formally launch the training of the second cohort of County Government planners on spatial planning and integrated strategic urban development planning; the reality remains that a lot of support is required to enhance spatial plan adoption by the counties. Indeed, only 2 of the 47 Counties (Lamu and Makueni) have so far completed their County Spatial Plans, yet this is a key constitutional requirement for our counties. As the country grapples with the frequent flood, drought and landslide challenges, including the ongoing flooding problem, the need to support counties finalize their spatial plans gains more urgency.

In an assessment we undertook in collaboration with the Council of Governors to understand why many of the Counties were behind in finalizing their county spatial plans, it emerged that capacity challenges in the area of GIS hardware, software, and technical knowledge were the key limitations for the Counties to develop their plans.

Therefore, ‘The GIS Certified Training for County Spatial Planning’ course is informed by the need to enhance capacity of County technical staff in Land, Physical Planning, Environment and Urban Development departments, with the aim of strengthening Counties’ capacity in spatial planning and implementation.

It is our sincere hope and expectation that this training, will provide you with adequate technical skills that builds your capacity to support your counties to plan and execute the GIS requirements of the County Spatial Plans, leveraging on available global best practices for sustainable development. Additionally, it is hoped that from this training, you will be able to support your counties to map out all the existing resources, as well as important data and information required in the formulation of the County Spatial Plans.

It is our hope that the County Spatial Plans will play a critical role in informing the preparation of the third generation County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP).

In the current era where challenges associated with climate change are complex and evolving, spatial planning offers counties an opportunity to climate proof their development processes. Spatial planning provides information to ensure that development plans are risk informed and hence protected from potential disasters impacts. It also enhances the resilience of vulnerable communities, by ensuring that access to critical infrastructure and services is effectively mapped out.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I conclude, it is our sincere expectation that, the knowledge and skills gained from this training, will position you to become champions of GIS, by advocating for its utilisation as a critical tool in the planning for development in your counties. We urge you all to utilize this opportunity to advance yourselves and be ready to support the acceleration of your county’s development through effective application of GIS.

I thank and wish you all a successful training.

Asanteni Sana