Unprecedented rainfall over the last few weeks has devastated the people of Mombasa. El Niño impacts and flooding have led to the unfortunate loss of lives, as well as destruction of infrastructure and economic losses across the County. In the face of climate change, such events will increase in frequency and intensity and thereby necessitate urgent action from the County and all stakeholders to enhance resilience.
Today marks a significant step forward in addressing urban flooding with the launch of the Mombasa City Local Adaptation Booster (LAB). This initiative, a collaboration between the County Government and the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), brings local and international stakeholders together to develop sustainable solutions to the challenge.
The launch, co-hosted by the County Government and CoM SSA co-implementing partner, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), witnessed the presence of distinguished guests, including H.E. Abdulswamad Nassir, Mombasa County Governor, H.E. Thoya, Mombasa Deputy Governor, Ms. Emily Ochieng, CEC - Water, Natural Resources, Bodo Immink, GIZ Kenya Country Director, representatives from UN-Habitat and the World Bank, with technical input provided by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) and MDF Training and Consultancy. These partners united representatives from the national government, focal sectors, development partners, the private sector, and the community.
The Mombasa City LAB aims to co-develop and co-design concrete solutions for the city's complex climate adaptation challenge over one year. This follows a Technical Stakeholder Workshop in October 2023 and a rapid baseline study conducted by Coastal and Marine Resources Development (COMRED) from July to December 2022, highlighting urban flooding as a critical concern.
Through a participatory approach, the Mombasa City LAB will promote the optimal use of resources for sustainability while harnessing global and local knowledge to tackle the issue of urban flooding. At the end of the LAB process, the solutions and outputs will be institutionalised within the County Government, Academia, NGOs, private sector and civil society. H.E. Hon Francis Thoya, Mombasa Deputy Governor, emphasised: "We must make community the centre of the climate agenda. We cannot just be talking among technical people. We will succeed if we go inclusively through the Mombasa City Lab."
Martin Baltes, GIZ CoM SSA Team Leader, highlighted the role of the Mombasa City LAB in facilitating effective solutions towards urban flooding: "By fostering exchanges between stakeholders and local governments, CoM SSA supports Mombasa in developing and implementing solutions to complex challenges at the intersection of urban infrastructure development and climate change adaptation."
Irene Giribaldi, EU Delegation in Kenya Head of Cooperation, reiterated the EU's support for such initiatives: “By engaging with communities and local authorities in Mombasa, we aim to forge a path towards adaptive solutions that not only mitigate risks but also promote a more sustainable and resilient future.”
The Mombasa City LAB will work towards developing local solutions for local problems, ultimately institutionalising these solutions involving the County Government, academia, NGOs, private sector, and civil society. The event concluded with a shared resolution among participants to identify actionable solutions and strengthen Mombasa's ability to respond to urban flooding challenges.
Note to editors:
CoM SSA is the regional chapter of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), the largest global initiative of cities addressing climate and energy challenges. This bottom-up initiative encourages cities to voluntarily set and achieve ambitious yet realistic climate and energy targets. As of 2023, the network includes over 360 cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Mombasa County joined the CoM SSA through a political commitment in 2022.
The initiative is co-funded by the European Union, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), providing in-depth support to cities in 14 countries, including Kenya. It is jointly implemented by four European Member State Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Expertise France.
CoM SSA Communication Officer