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Senate Speaker Amason Kingi has said the challenges brought about by Climate Change should influence the framing of Kenya’s next National Action Plan.

The Speaker admitted that changes in climatic conditions have gained prominence in recent years, triggering an erratic climate pattern that has devastated agriculture as it disrupted lives and livelihoods in unprecedented ways. 

These challenges, the Speaker argued, should influence the framing of the country’s next National Action Plan.

“The question of climate change has gained significant prominence in recent years,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Bomet senator Hillary Sigei during the launch of the Parliamentary Caucus on Open Government Partnership (PC-OGP) at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday.

Kenya joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011, a year after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

Membership to the OGP has enabled Kenya to effectively leverage global best practices on matters of governance.

 The partnership commits the 78 Member States and 76 Local Governments to formulate National Action Plans, that prescribe interventions in identified areas within the lifespan of the particular Action Plan.

Speaker Kingi said Kenya, a respected member of the Global Steering Committee for the period 2020-2023, takes great pride in having implemented four, two-year National Action Plans (NAPs) since 2011.

The latest is the National Action Plan IV, covering the period 2020-2022. 

“Effective implementation of National Action Plans has enabled us to institutionalise mechanisms to check corruption, expand space for civil society organisations, upscale public participation in decision-making and entrench digital governance,” he explained.

Kenya’s National Action Plan IV has particularly been instrumental in the attainment of key governance milestones; the adoption of open contracting data standards, the Implementation of the Access to Information Act, the promotion of meaningful participation in legislative processes, improving access to justice and giving the civil society more leeway in advocacy and empowerment programmes, with a view to making the public better informed and able to hold implementing agencies accountable.

The caucus draws its relevance from the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that has, for the last one decade, given impetus to entrenchment of democratic governance, transparency, inclusivity and accountability with laudable outcomes.

Senators Samson Cherarkey and Fatuma Dullo and Dagoretti North MP Beatrice Elachi are among other legislators who are driving the Parliamentary Caucus agenda.

Upon full operationalisation, the Caucus is envisioned to facilitate strategic positioning of Parliamentarians, enabling them to discharge their legislative, oversight and representation roles more robustly and optimally in the governance space.

“Due to its positive impact and action-oriented approach, OGP has won itself the full blessings and backing of the Government of Kenya,” said the Speaker.

He noted that the involvement of Kenyan Parliament in Open Government Partnership, through the caucus, will be the nexus of offering valuable political support for delivery of open government reforms in our country.

“The launch of the Parliamentary Caucus on Open Government Partnership, therefore, allows Parliament to effectively deploy legislative action, oversight and parliamentary diplomacy, in realisation of the overarching goals of OGP.”

The implementation of the National Action Plan has largely been at the national level, but Speaker Kingi paid tribute to the counties of Elgeyo-Marakwet, Nandi and Makueni counties for having joined the Partnership, and formulated County Governments Local Action Plans which he noted, had helped broaden the reach of Open Government Partnership in Kenya.

He called on all the 47 counties to start formulating County Government Local Action in order to reap the attendant benefits.

“County Government Local Action Plans draw attention to challenges that are unique to individual counties and open doors for funding and other interventions that not only help eradicate prevailing difficult situations but also improve local livelihoods,” he noted.

He promised the counties that the Senate, in execution of its mandate outlined in Article 96 of the Constitution, stands ready to take necessary steps, including legislative interventions, to create the appropriate environment and framework in which the OGP initiative can be actualized. 

He cited the Public Participation Bill, which is due for debate in the Senate. The Bill is meant to give effect to Article 118 (1) (b) of the constitution. 

If enacted, the law will be central to parliamentary involvement in OGP.

“The Parliament Open Government Partnership Caucus is an idea whose time has come and all we have to do is exploit it for effective service delivery in our country,” said the Speaker.

Those present at the event were Senate Minority Leader Stewart Madazyo, Majority Whip Boni Khalwale, Senator Cherarkey, Senator Tabithat Mutinda and Hon Elachi. and Foreign and Diaspora Affairs PS Dr Korir Singoei.