A global to local study of climate smart livestock in Kenya (PhD project - Annita Kirwa)

The project approaches the governance challenge of addressing sustainable Development Goals (SDG) interactions from a global to local lens through a multi-level case study of the Kenyan dairy sector. The study focuses on the ways through which bilateral and multilateral donors as well as government ministries are coordinating to address trade-offs and build synergies within the climate smart livestock context. The study aims contribute insights on how coordination mechanisms can transform a fragmented SDG governance system towards a polycentric system for an effective SDG implementation.


The government of Kenya has developed its long-term strategies towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Developing an enabling policy and investment environment for sustainable agriculture is amongst its key priority area. Numerous actors including international organisations and government departments are striving to attain the SDGs. However, due to the fragmented and multi-level governance context as well as lack of coordination among development actors in executing development initiatives, efforts for inclusive SDG implementation have been hampered. For example, rapid investments in dairy intensification and commercialisation (SDG 2) to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emission intensities (SDG 13), may lead to the unintended results of higher social stratification (SDG10) and/or gender inequality (SDG5). These kind of interactions between SDGs create a high risk of preferred goals being cherry-picked, trade-offs between goals being ignored, or opportunities for building synergies between goals being missed. This PhD project will focus on analyzing particularly how efforts initiated from international, bilateral, and national actors can address trade-offs and enable synergies related to climate-smart livestock projects in Kenya, so that they lead to inclusive and effective SDG implementation.


The PhD project investigates on how development actors including bilateral donors such as the Dutch embassy and multilateral donors including the World Bank set their investment priorities and negotiate policy objectives with regard to the choice of Climate Smart Livestock (CSL) production strategies and whether such decisions, priorities, and objectives either lead to trade-offs or synergies in practice. The study will look at SDG 2 (End hunger) as a starting point and its interaction with other SDGs including SD 13 (climate action), SDG 5 (gender equality), and SDG 10 (reduced inequality). The project further investigates the extent to which coordination mechanisms could contribute to addressing SDG interactions at policy and programme levels. Particularly horizontal and vertical coordination mechanisms that affect the efforts to build synergies and address trade-offs when investing in the Climate Smart Livestock in Kenya.

Horizontal coordination mechanisms include inter-donor coordination mechanisms at the international level and inter-departmental coordination mechanisms at the national level. Vertical coordination mechanisms are those that occur in the process of interaction between the donor actors at the international level and departmental actors at the national level.