Planning and budgeting is a very important aspect of any development process. It is expected that proper planning will translate to improved delivery of services such as water and health to citizens. In order to understand the planning and budgeting process at the county level, it is important to first understand the concept of devolution and the services the County government is expected to provide. Economic, social and cultural rights are the foundation of human dignity and fundamental for realization and enjoyment of other rights. Unfortunately, these rights have endlessly played a second fiddle to civil and political rights globally.
In Kenya, most of the functions that are geared to advance economic and social rights have been devolved to county governments; these includes the right to health, water & sanitation, housing and education among others .The principle objective of transferring these functions was to ensure power, resources and decision making have been transmitted to citizens. This then would provide effective engagement of citizens in making critical decisions in county budgeting, resource allocation and setting of priorities towards realizing their ESC rights. The constitution of Kenya under Article 196 is elaborate on public participation. This has been effected by the adoption of the Public Finance Management Act (PFM 2012) and the County Government Act (CGA 2012) which have given significant effect to the constitutional provisions on public participation. However, not so much has been achieved since the inception of the 47 county governments.
Majority of the citizens in counties are yet to come to contact with participation mechanisms like public forums, County Budget and Economic Forum, Alternative budgets and so on. Access to information that can shape the conversations and allow them to make up to date observations is a challenge. This has virtually hampered effective involvement of citizens in crucial discussions in counties on ESC rights. Anchoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in County Planning Processes: The role of duty bearers and rights holders 4 Realization of economic and social rights is contingent to good political will; integration in plans for instance the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), Annual Development Plans (ADPs) and adequate financial resources allocated to advance these rights. In developing this guide, Hakijamii envisions county planning that is sensitive to ECOSOC rights and clearly defines an implementation roadmap. Further, the role of communities and non state actors as stakeholders in the planning and governance processes in counties are indispensable.
Access to economic and social rights in Kenya remains a demeaning challenge for majority of the citizens in poor urban informal settlements and arid and semi arid regions. This tool aims to provide guidelines that will ensure economic and social rights are anchored in county planning especially the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDPs). It also strives to advocate for inclusivity and that citizens are significantly involved in implementation of the CIDP through collective development of ADPs, resource allocation through budgeting and monitoring and evaluation of progress.