C ommunity Leaders from Mukuru, the largest informal settlement in Nairobi, showcased some of the early initiatives from their People’s Adaptation Plan to a visiting international delegation on 4th September 2023. The delegation included Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair, Global Center on Adaptation (GCA); Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO, GCA and Distinguished Chair of The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies; Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark; and Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, France.

In 2017 the residents of Mukuru undertook an ambitious, ground-breaking participatory upgrading process known as the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA). Since then, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) has worked with the Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT) and the residents of Mukuru to produce the Locally Led Planning: A Guide for Building Climate Resilience in Urban Informal Settlements. The Guide captured lessons and practices from the groundbreaking work implemented by the community and local government in Mukuru and formed the basis for the “People’s Adaptation Plan.”

The work in Mukuru to improve water management, roads and sanitation as part of the People’s Adaptation Plan, shows how locally led action can unlock the enormous potential and creativity of communities to develop and implement solutions, while catalyzing adaptation that is more effective and equitable, and better targeted at local needs.

During the visit, the delegation learned more about the locally-led planning process in Mukuru and visited some of the places where the Nairobi City County Government has implemented elements of the People’s Adaptation Plan.

The People’s Planning process, which was conducted in Mukuru through a collaboration between Nairobi City County Government, Civil Society Organizations, academics and the community, offers a blueprint for locally led planning for climate change. The GCA is supporting peer-to-peer learning to replicate the process for adaptation in other informal settlements in Africa and Bangladesh. For instance, a delegation of government, non-government and World Bank representatives from Monrovia, Liberia, are in Nairobi this week to learn more about the Mukuru planning process and are conducting a similar process in informal settlements in Monrovia. The resulting People’s Adaptation Plan developed in Monrovia will inform investments under the World Bank’s Liberia Urban Resilience Project. The GCA is also supporting the development of People’s Adaptation Plans in Senegal, Rwanda and Bangladesh under the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP), to inform investments by multilateral and bilateral financial institutions.

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