Juja 7 July 2017: Kenya has been keen to implement county spatial planning programme as the framework for county budgeting, spending and development; and especially within a fully devolved governance framework. However, the absence of spatial plans is glaring in almost all the counties with exception of Lamu County that has successfully completed and approved its county spatial plan. It’s within this framework that UN-Habitat, the National Land Commission of Kenya (NLC) and the Africa Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) organized and held a one week County Spatial Planning Course for county planners in Kenya.

The first of its kind for mid-career county officers in charge of spatial planning, the main purpose of the ‘County Spatial Planning: Formulation, implementation, Financing, Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatial Development Frameworks’ course was to enable planners acquire knowledge, and professional competence to enable them discharge the mandate of guiding county land use planning and development as required by the constitution and the county government act.

Led by a cocktail of excellent experts and trainers from UN-Habitat, National Land Commission of Kenya, academia and intergovernmental agencies, the course brought together 18 (10 male and 8 female) planners from across fourteen County Governments in Kenya.

The training focused on five themes including concepts, theories and rationale of spatial development and also the key steps in preparation of County Spatial Plans (CSP). It further exposed the participants to spatial data needs their acquisition and the role of GIS in county spatial planning processes in Kenya. With most counties facing major capacity gaps in planning processes, the course equipped the participant with requisite skills on procurement, implementation, monitoring and review of county spatial planning processes. Resource mobilization to finance such processes was also explored. It further exposed the participants to international urban and regional planning and development frameworks, guidelines and best practices.

Participants expressed enthusiasm and were eager to impress upon county authorities the need to budget adequate resources for land use planning including capacity, finances and equipment and were also keen to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the course to guide orderly development of private and public investments, economic growth, county spending, and land management within their counties.