The Council of Governors in partnership with Food and Agricultural Organization organized a webinar to address the Use of Geo spatial technologies as a support system for spatial thinking and planning for Counties with the theme: “GIS Technologies as an instrument to promoting County Spatial Planning.”
The purpose of the Community of Practice (COP) and webinar was to collate experiences, ideas and approaches to be adopted by County Governments to utilize geo spatial technologies (GIS) as a high-tech support system for spatial thinking.
The keynote address was made by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning Farida Karoney, in a speech read by Truphosa Achar the Chair, Working Group on Implementation of Community Land Act. Ms. Husna Mbarak of FAO’s Land and Natural Resources Programme was the moderator.
This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Wilber Ottichilo the Governor for Vihiga County Government and a showcase Video of Vihiga County Case study. The Governor also made a presentation showing how GIS can be applied in all sectors and to assist in planning.
According to the Council of Governors, GIS is a powerful technology, and has found use in many sectors of the economy with great success. The COG noted that Section 105 of the county government’s act of 2012 requires county governments to prepare a County Spatial Plan which is (GIS) based. However, participants the webinar heard that despite that requirement being in existence for more than seven years, as of today, few counties have established GIS units.
The lack of resources and awareness on the power of GIS was quoted as the key hindrances to achievement of this legal requirement. This COP and webinar serve to fill this gap - to provide practical, structured steps on how to plan, implement and manage GIS in the counties.
RCMRD Director General Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza who was one of the panelists spoke about the role RCMRD had played in building the capacity of some of Kenya’s Counties through GIS training. He also talked about the fact that there are other options for setting up a GIS system using is open source software which he said can be less expensive and he advised the counties to explore this avenue.
Dr. Nkurunziza also spoke about the role of RCMRD in developing Counties Hazard Atlases available at: https://opendata.rcmrd.org/pages/atlases He finished by advising the participants to use of GIS Platforms as they apply for jobs.
It was expected that after the Webinar there would be more counties applying this approach to geospatial information management, and be able to implement evidence-based solutions to social, economic, and environmental challenges. That a checklist of (a) County challenges and (b) good practices in the use of spatial technologies beyond statutory compliance as well as measures to institutionalize peer learning among counties as a strategy for promoting GIS and the Physical, Land-Use, Spatial & Integrated Strategic Urban Development Planning and finally that specific policy recommendations and commitments to increase financial budgeting for Physical and Land use planning at the county level would be submitted to Governors at a high-level feedback forum.