The Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin Development Authority (ENNDA) has proposed an ambitious and transformative project titled “Ewaso Ng’iro North Integrated Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Project.” This visionary project aims to restore, conserve, and improve the Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin Ecosystem while building resilience and increasing the adaptive capacity of the communities living within the basin.

The Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin, covering an area of approximately 209,576 square kilometers, is home to over 4.3 million people and 75% of Kenya’s livestock and wildlife. The basin is predominantly arid and semi-arid, with 74% to 97% of the population living below the absolute poverty line, making them highly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. The region faces challenges such as loss of biodiversity, high population growth, unsustainable agricultural practices, resource use conflicts, pollution, and deforestation, resulting in reduced productivity, land degradation, food insecurity, and regular loss of livestock and human lives.

The proposed project’s relevance lies in its alignment with both international and national frameworks on climate change. It contributes to the achievement of 15 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and supports Kenya’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) and the government’s “Big Four” Agenda on food and nutrition security, manufacturing, universal health coverage, and affordable housing. The project aims to address the urgent need for climate change adaptation measures to improve the lives and livelihoods of the communities, promote sustainable use of natural resources, enhance security, and restore human dignity for the resident communities.

The project integrates four key components: Ewaso Ng’iro North River Ecosystem restoration and protection, Climate Change Mitigation, Sustainable Pastoralism Development, and Value Addition. These components collectively address the multifaceted challenges faced by the basin and its inhabitants.

The expected project outcomes include sustained flows of the Ewaso Ng’iro River throughout the year, improved livelihoods for more than 4.3 million beneficiaries, increased foreign exchange earnings from exports, improved security among the basin communities, increased employment opportunities and disposable income, improved health and nutrition, increased forest and vegetation cover, and reduced vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

The project’s implementation plan encompasses a wide range of activities, including stakeholder workshops, coordination meetings, development of conservation strategies, establishment of tree nurseries, propagation and planting of trees, annual conservation camel caravans, demarcation and management of conservancies, community training and sensitization, water development and flood control measures, promotion of renewable energy, climate-smart initiatives, and value addition activities such as dates promotion and commercialization.

The estimated total project cost is Kshs. 5,114,050,000, with funding options including government support, development partners, and private sector involvement. The project is designed to be implemented over a period of five years, with a focus on sustainability and long-term impact.

The project’s sustainability is enhanced through the involvement of stakeholders, capacity building of local communities, income-generating activities, collaboration with county governments, and the promotion of peaceful coexistence among the communities. The project’s outcomes are expected to have far-reaching positive impacts on the environment, livelihoods, and overall well-being of the resident communities.