The Ministry of Devolution and ASALs consists of two State Departments; namely Devolution and ASALs, both of which were part of the defunct Ministry of Devolution and Planning. Executive order No. 1 of June 2018 (Revised), mandates the Ministry to be charge of the management of devolution affairs and ASALs.
The defining feature of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) is their aridity levels. The annual rainfall ranges between 150 mm to 550 mm for arid areas and between 550 mm to 850 mm for semi-arid areas per year. Temperatures in arid areas are high throughout the year, with high rates of evapo-transpiration.
The ASALs occupy over 80% of the country’s landmass, is home to roughly 36% of the population, 70% of the national livestock herd and 90% of wildlife.
This is the degree to which a climate lacks effective and life-promoting moisture. It is measured by comparing long-term average water supply (precipitation) to long-term average water demand (evapotranspiration). Whenever the demand for water is higher than supply, then the climate is described as arid.
29 Counties are classified as ASALs. These are: Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Baringo, Isiolo, Laikipia, Nakuru, Lamu, Tana River, Taita-Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Embu, Kitui, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Nyeri, Machakos, Makueni, Kajiado, Narok, Kiambu, Migori and Homa Bay.
The State Department for ASALs is mandated to initiate and implement social and economic development programmes for accelerated development in the ASALs This is expected to contribute towards the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, Kenya Vision 2030 and the “Big Four Agenda”.
The State Department is involved in implementing initiatives aimed at addressing:
- Arid and Semi-Arid Lands development;
- Peace Building and Conflict Management;
- Strategic Feed Reserves;
- Construction of water pans; and
- Cash for Assets.
The State Department for ASALs coordinates and fundraises resources for peace building initiatives in conflict prone areas including transboundary areas. It supports initiatives that enhance harmonious co-existence amongst border communities