November 2016|Mirza|Background papers,

Kenya has 23 arid and semi-arid counties, which constitute about 88 per cent of the country’s land mass. Of the 23 counties, 9 of them are classified as arid and 14 as semi-arid. The extent of aridity within each of the arid and semi-arid counties, and across counties, is variable, not homogenous. The arid counties are predominantly pastoral (high mobility of pastoralists and livestock), with limited crop farming. The semi-arid counties are mostly agropastoral, in which integrated crop/livestock production systems are common.

In terms of socioeconomic development, these arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) are generally marked by low human development, such as high levels of poverty, low literacy, and low population density but a high growth rate and poor infrastructure. However, they are also endowed with a variety of natural resources, key among them being wildlife biodiversity, forests, wetlands, various minerals and diverse cultural characteristics. However, the current and projected impacts of climate change – coupled with non-climatic factors – threaten the sustainable use of these opportunities and the livelihoods of ASAL communities.

In an effort to contribute towards the development agenda, this Kenya Country Situation Assessment seeks to identify research gaps that will inform policy formulation and mitigate negative climate change impacts to improve the livelihoods and welfare of ASAL communities. It also identifies opportunities for leveraging existing initiatives and networks of development actors working towards building a climate-resilient development approach in ASALs.

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