Case Studies: Kenya and Ethiopia

ethiopia_march_2009IIThe objective is to investigate how international climate change policy processes play out in national and sub-national agricultural contexts and to ascertain how these influence and are influenced by particular policy narratives, actors, networks and interests.

Specifically, the study will examine how international policy goals on mitigation and adaptation are negotiated at the national level in the two countries, and in the next stage, how national level policy processes are manifesting themselves in the agricultural sector at a sub-national and local level.

The Kenyan study draws on a background note by Warui and Were, which mapped the broad policy landscape in the country on climate change and agriculture. A literature review on international policy processes have been undertaken by Hiraldo and Silva Villanueva (Forthcoming).

The study also builds upon research carried out under the recently completed DFID/IDRC CCAA project ‘Research to Policy for Adaptation’ (RPA), implemented in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi.

Research Questions

1. What are the key narratives on climate change among agricultural sector actors in Kenya, and what are the associated actors and political processes?

Up to recently, climate change was the domain of ministries of environment and the national meteorological services. However, with the emerging national policies and strategies on climate change, it is an issue that spans a wide range of sectors. For example, the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) in Kenya makes provisions for integration of climate change considerations across all major sectors in the country, including agriculture. This presents challenges as well as opportunities.

Little analysis so far has focused on the processes that are taking place in shaping strategies to respond to climate change – who are involved, what are their views on problems and solutions, what are their interests, how is climate change understood (narratives) by different actors (actors/organisations), how are they linked (networks) and what are the related political processes? Analysis of narratives allows a focus on how different groups view problems and solutions, and why.

This research question will examine the narratives or discourses around climate change and agriculture among key stakeholders, and analyse where these narratives come from, what are the networks associated with different understandings of the problem and solutions, and which political interests are promoting particular solutions.

2. What are the implications of the narratives for action on the ground in the agricultural sector?

The national level debate can be assumed to significantly affect what actual climate change activities will be carried out at sub-national and local levels. The purpose of this second research question is to examine the effects of the national level debate on actions on the ground.

Two sites will be chosen in areas where there is ongoing climate change work, to analyse how the actions on the ground link to the natonal level narratives. The research question may address issues such as: What assumptions about rural stakeholders are activities based on, and whose views are included and excluded? How do the climate change activities relate to agricultural sector development goals? What may be the synergies and contradictions between adaptation, mitigation, and agricultural development?

Methodology and activities

The research questions will be analysed from the perspective of narratives, actors and politics, following IDS’ policy processes analytical framework. This means going beyond the formal processes and unpacking informal networks and processes.

The national level study (Research question 1) will be based on analysis of document analysis and interviews with key actors, including, among others, government agricultural sector staff, academic staff, representatives from donors and NGOs, and private sector representatives.

The sub-national level study (Research question 2) will be based on interviews with programme staff in Nairobi and Addis as well as field level interviews with project staff, local government and community representatives.


Hiraldo, R. and Silva Villanueva, P. 2010. Mapping policy processes on Climate Change and Agriculture in Africa: A literature review. Draft report for the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC).

KIPPRA (2009-11) Various literature reviews and case studies for the RPA project. Review drafts, KIPPRA, Nairobi.