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The politics of policy making around pastoralism in kenya


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Presentation by Mohamed Elmi, RVI Nairobi Forum, April 2013

Presentation by Mohamed Elmi, RVI Nairobi Forum, April 2013

Published in: News & Politics, Business

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  • 1. THE POLITICS OF POLICY-MAKING ON PASTORALISMIN KENYAReflections on the work of the Ministry ofState for Development of Northern Kenya andother Arid LandsHon. Mohamed Elmi
  • 2. Preliminary remarksMandate of theMDNKOAL covered allthe ASALs, but the focusof this presentation is onarid and pastoral areaswhich are generallysubject to greatestcontestation &misunderstanding.
  • 3. Policy problem: Inadequate & inappropriatepolicy attention to arid & pastoral areasInadequate• Uneven distribution of publicinvestment (‘foundations’)• As a result, action by the private sectorin the arid lands is limited, but actionby humanitarian agencies is very high• Policy-makers in Nairobi don’tinstinctively think about arid lands• No clear picture of spend in arid lands;not identified in budgeting system• Tendency of central ministries to posttheir least experienced officers to theregionInappropriate• Limited exposure to pastoralism,leading to low understanding• National policy insufficiently nuancedto different ecologies/social systems• Administrative procedures developedwith non-arid areas in mind• Political preference for ‘equal’ ratherthan ‘equitable’ treatmentBoth have historical roots:colonial / post-colonial continuities in policy approach(containment, separate development, trickle-down economics)
  • 4. Policy failures create systemic problems which can’t beaddressed in a single five-year government term• Inequality:• Of opportunity: e.g. access to education & health care,infrastructure, justice, security• Of outcome: e.g. human development index, maternal mortality,female literacy, infant mortality• ‘Two Kenyas’:• Attitudes need to change on both ‘sides’:• Outside the arid lands: respond to pastoralism on its own terms(instead of trying to change it); recognize the common citizenshipof all Kenyans• Within the arid lands: recognize that while marginalization mayhave been a reality, it is no longer a necessity (Constitution;devolution)
  • 5. Institutional problem: How should governmentsorganize themselves to respond?Governments are organized aroundsectors, not people or regions• Two imperatives:• Integration: ASALs are theresponsibility of the mainsector ministries• Focus: cross-cutting issuesneed champions to ensureadequate & appropriateattention (cf gender)• Institutional framework mustdeliver bothWhat type of mechanism?• Different options: full ministry,department, project,secretariat• Full ministry gives directaccess to Cabinet and seniorbureaucrats (otherwise thishas to be mediated throughanother minister)• Lack of institutional continuityin Kenya to address systemicchallenges
  • 6. 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010sMinistryMinistry ofReclamation&Developmentof Arid,Semi-Arid &Wastelands(1989-93)Ministry of Statefor Developmentof Northern Kenya& other Arid Lands(2008-13)DepartmentASAL Section, Ministry ofPlanning (1980-88)ProjectArid Lands Resource Management Project (1996-2010)Office of the PresidentMinistry ofSpecialProgrammesMDNKOALTimeline of principal GoK interventions in arid lands
  • 7. Implications for MDNKOAL’s approach• Priority was to change the system: i.e. to re-balancepolicy & institutional priorities in the long-term interests ofthe arid lands.• However, incentives & systems within government (suchas in planning, resource allocation, performancemanagement) favour the delivery of tangible projects, notsystemic change. The public also expects its ministries tobe ‘visible’ (sign-boards).• MDNKOAL decided to be a ‘different’ ministry: its strategicpriority was to help the rest of government meet itsobligations in the region.• Would like this approach to continue.
  • 8. Opening of a policy space in 2008• Combination of factors supported MDNKOAL’s agenda:• Inequality had moved up the policy agenda: post-election violence;Agenda 4• Pastoral civil society activism had started to infiltrate competitivepolitics• Ongoing search for a new Constitution: recognition that Kenya’sinstitutions needed to change (not just for ASALs)• ‘Resilience’ agenda post-2011: provides a shared agenda for thehumanitarian system & development actors• African Union Policy Framework on Pastoralism (2010): legitimatesMDNKOAL policy position on pastoralism• Written paper discusses the response of different actorsto this policy opportunity
  • 9. MDNKOAL: four ways of working1. Coordination• Amplifying the workof government• Bilateralengagement, withvariable results:strong in somesectors, weaker inothers2. Selectiveprojectimplementation• ‘Gap-filling’ withsectors (education,health, water,planning)• Testing newapproaches• Issues not pickedup by others(droughtmanagement; ‘OneKenya’)3. Regionalinteraction• Limitedengagement, e.g.peace building• No structuredprocess yet forinteractionbetween regionalgovernments toimprove policyharmonization4. Policy, legal& institutionalreform• ASAL policyapproved byParliament (end of10-year process)• Legal reformsaddressed by theConstitution• Institutionalframeworkdesigned & partly inplace
  • 10. Policy outputsTitle National Policy for theSustainable Development ofNorthern Kenya and otherArid Lands, Sessional PaperNo. 8 of 2012Vision 2030Development Strategyfor Northern Kenyaand other Arid LandsEnding DroughtEmergencies inKenya: Medium-Term PlanStatus: Approved by Cabinet, October 2012,& launched February 2013Endorsed by Ministry ofPlanning, August 2011, &launched February 2013Integrated into Vision2030 MTP2, 2013-17Purpose: To re-frame the Government’sapproach to the ASALs:• As a region of potential, not justchallenge• Where Government will think &act differently, taking its uniquecharacteristics into account• Whose citizens are entitled tothe same rights as othersTo complement anddeepen the nationaldevelopment planTo integrate ASAL prioritiesinto national developmentpolicy and planningTo show how Kenyawill end droughtemergencies withinten years
  • 11. Institutional framework: four elements4. ASALSecretariat1. Cabinetoversight3.Stakeholdercoordination2. Specialist& permanentinstitutions
  • 12. Institutional framework: current statusInstitution Status DetailsASAL Cabinet Sub-Committee Constituted Membership defined by Head of PublicService, 11 October 2012ASAL Secretariat Operational Provided for in ASAL Policy; not yetformalised in GovernmentASAL Stakeholder Forum Operational Inaugural meeting July 2012National Drought ManagementAuthorityOperational State corporation gazetted November 2011National Drought and DisasterContingency FundPending Being established by TreasuryLivestock Marketing Board Approved National Livestock Policy, 2008National Council on NomadicEducationApproved Basic Education Act, 2012Northern Kenya EducationTrustOperational Registered in 2010 (private sector)Northern Kenya InvestmentFundPending Design work completed (private sector)
  • 13. Reflections1. Progress in policy & institutional reform was due to a network ofindividuals, both inside & outside government. Some have changedpositions; new ones have arrived. How will the same networkcontinue pressing for implementation of reforms?2. Tension between individuals/institutions: on the one hand,individuals are key to success, but progress should not be subjectto personal interest. Now that policy direction is approved, we needcollective & coordinated action to implement.3. Tendency to view arid lands in terms of their ecology/productionsystem rather than holistically. But pastoralists have the sameneeds as any other Kenyans. Besides, livelihoods are changingwith greater diversification, commercialization & urbanization. Needcloser engagement from those working on infrastructure,governance, industrial development, financial services – but inways that are sympathetic to / supportive of pastoralism.
  • 14. Reflections (cont.)4. Blockages to progress are not necessarily because of antipathy orindifference to pastoralism: the ‘normal’ shortcomings ofgovernment play their part. It’s often the small things that get in theway.5. Devolution: significant potential to ensure more responsive policyand practice; a major opportunity for previously marginalizedregions.6. Parliament now has a critical role to play in holding the executiveto account for implementation of the agreed ASAL policy &application of the institutional framework.7. Arid lands have previously been left on the margins. Bringing themfurther into the spotlight will bring new challenges (alienation ofland, communal land titling, inappropriate investment).