Nairobi, 8 May 2015 – UN-Habitat recently undertook a capacity development session for Members of County Assembly (MCAs) from Mombasa and Kilifi counties in Kenya’s coastal region. The session was designed as a follow-up, requested by the county government representatives, after a similar one that took place towards the end of last year at Diani, Kwale County.
The sessions are part of UN Habitat’s support to the Kenya Municipal Programme, under the broad framework of “Support to a Sustainable Urban Development Sector in Kenya” that is funded by SIDA. The Kenya Constitution of 2010 and the County Governments Act No. 17 of 2012 of the Kenya legislation have placed the mandate of county legislation and oversight on county assemblies.
In particular, county assemblies are charged with; among other things, approval of plans and county budgets, ensuring public participation in decision making (including urban planning) and general oversight over the county executive. In response, UN-Habitat designed a capacity development programme that seeks to ensure that county legislators, who also double as political leaders, have appropriate capacity to execute their mandates effectively.
This means ensuring that members formulate decisions from informed perspectives, in this case, the approval of urban development plans and subsequent critical decisions such as guiding policies and regulations and budgetary needs necessary for the implementation of such plans.
Recognition of key players
Speaking about the value of the workshop, Tubmun Otieno, Clerk to the County Assembly of Mombasa, said: “The recognition that the county assembly and political leaders are key stakeholders in urban planning is a milestone in itself.”
UN Habitat also engaged the participants in developing a common understanding on why and how to mainstream gender, youth and human rights, as vital cross-cutting issues in urban planning and urban development. The session’s mode of delivery was through presentations by UN Habitat experts, discussions and practical group exercises.