Tracking subnational government investments in disaster risk reduction in Kenya - May 2019


Kenya is prone to natural and human inflicted hazards, including floods, drought, epidemics, conflict and fires. Losses resulting from these disasters can be economic, environmental and social, and reduce the coping abilities of the affected population and increase vulnerability to recurring disasters. Investments in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) are essential to minimise losses from future disasters and promote sustainable development.

This report assesses the level of investment in DRR programmes in four counties in Kenya for the periods of 2016/17 to 2018/19 to evaluate the extent to which programme budgets are aligned to DRR objectives. We have based our analysis on county budget documents (2016/17–2018/19) to evaluate the extent to which programme budgets are aligned to DRR objectives.

Key findings

  • Laikipia is the only county of the four considered, where the DRR coordinating office is not anchored in the respective governor’s office. Placing DRR coordination function at the highest level of power elevates its visibility and allows disaster risk management to be positioned as a priority.
  • At the county level, timely and reliable data on vulnerabilities to disaster risk that are driven by poverty and climate change is limited; and more so, the information that links these elements.
  • Kisumu county has the highest number of departments with DRR-principal spending (where DRR is a primary objective of that spending). The county also has the highest direct DRR spending. This might be because of the deliberate effort the county, particularly Kisumu city, has been making towards DRR, including being the pioneer in localising Sendai Framework indicators; as well as being part of the global ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign.
  • The four counties invested a total of KES 6.4 billion on DRR between financial years 2016/17 and 2018/19. Baringo had the highest investment (KES 1.9 billion), followed by Kisumu and West Pokot (KES 1.7 billion each) and Laikipia (KES 1.1 billion).
  • Counties spend the bulk of their DRR-principal funding on disaster response, preparedness or disaster prevention and mitigation. DRR-significant investment (where DRR is a secondary objective of that spending) is directed towards development and rehabilitation of roads, provision of water and preventive and promotive health care services.
  • The share of allocations to DRR-principal programmes in respective total county budgets is less or equal to 2%. Such programmes also take less than a quarter of total marked DRR budget (except in Kisumu); while the rest goes to programmatic activities that consider DRR as a secondary objective (‘Significant’) in all the counties.
  • Mainstreaming of DRR investment is not limited to a small number of departments. Most DRR-principal investments are made by the office responsible for disaster risk management. DRR-significant investments are made mainly in water, roads and health departments.
  • By aligning the counties’ budgets to the Sendai Framework’s priorities, the OECD marker finds DRR-principal allocations towards building disaster risk knowledge (Priority 1) only in Kisumu county. DRR-principal sub-programmes are aligned mainly to disaster response (Priority 4) in Laikipia and Kisumu while in West Pokot and Baringo the focus of DRR-principal funding is on building resilience (Priority 3). As expected, marked DRR-significant investment prioritises building resilience (Priority 3) in all counties. This is expected given that DRR-significant investment by its nature is development oriented.


  • There is a need to mainstream DRR budget in more institutions. There is an opportunity to involve more institutions in DRR budgeting given that disaster risk management is coordinated from the governor’s office in the three counties.
  • Counties need to make deliberate efforts to understand disaster risk (Priority 1 of Sendai Framework). Assessment and regular monitoring of the vulnerability of lives and livelihoods should be carried out to make informed planning and resource allocation. Such information should be kept at a central repository accessible by all government institutions.
  • To make a conclusive recommendation on the DRR investment gap, there is a need to assess investment requirements for DRR by county.