As curtains closed on COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, a Kenyan team was among the four winners of the Local Adaptation Champions Awards, organised by the Global Centre on Adaptation.
The awards recognise locally led efforts to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change across four categories: financial governance, inclusive leadership, capacity and knowledge, and local innovation.
Adaptation Consortium, led by Victor Orindi, was awarded for its efforts in bringing together people with a shared vision of empowering the community in responding and adapting to climate change challenges.
Speaking to our reporter after receiving the award, in the financial governance category, Mr Orindi said his initiatives were inspired after he noticed that climate finance was not easily accessible to everybody, especially the vulnerable communities.
“We noticed that while a lot was happening in climate finance, it was not happening in a coordinated manner. Vulnerable communities were not able to access funds and we noticed a barrier in sustained funding streams; and that communities could not have a say in the work to be implemented,” he said.
“So, we started bringing people together towards a shared vision of empowering the community.”
Mr Orindi, who is the National Coordinator of the Adaptation Consortium, said the only way countries can successfully mitigate climate change is by making sure that all voices are heard.
“Responding and adapting to climate challenges largely depends on context; and the only way you can get that right is by ensuring that those who are impacted have a say in terms of how and where things are done. So, enabling them to be involved in planning process ensures that their voices count at the end of the day,” Orindi added.
The Adaptation Consortium supports communities to create, access, and use climate finance from varied sources to reduce their vulnerability to climate change, while strengthening public participation in the management and use of funds.
The Consortium has also designed a County Climate Change Fund to attract climate finance from public, private, local, and international sources, giving sub-national governments and communities a predictable and sustained source of finance for adaptation and resilience-building efforts.
Speaking during the awarding ceremony, Kenya’s Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya called on more partners to fund more adaptation interventions identified by Kenyans.
“The GCA awards are about inspiring and motivating innovative and potentially scalable interventions. As a country, we are already taking forward many of the good practices and lessons from Ada work through the government-led/World Bank-supported Financing Locally Led Climate Action (FLLoCA) programme, among others,” said Ms Tuya.
“We hope that more partners can join our national-level efforts to provide adequate resources to finance the priority adaptation interventions identified by our people.”
Prof Patrick Verkooijen, GCA Chief Executive Officer, said such innovations require support to be scaled up so as to achieve the required impact.
“Our winners show that community-centric and locally led solutions to the climate crisis exist, but they require support and recognition to be scaled up, and to achieve the most impact,” he said.
“The GCA is working with international financial institutions and governments to introduce these best practices to bigger funding streams, while maintaining what is at the heart of these impactful solutions and of successful adaptation – local leadership.”
Each winner will receive €15,000 (Ksh1.8 million) in funds to further the work they are doing in the spirit of the locally led adaptation principles. They will also have access to a global network of change makers.
The final list of winners was picked from a shortlist of 20 finalists and included a diverse selection of organisations from Kenya, Bangladesh, India and Nepal