Sub-National policy readiness as regards the planet’s carrying capacity and environmental sustainability in Kenya

  • Nzioka John Muthama Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi
Keywords: Sustainability, planetary boundaries, county intergrated development plans, peace


The achievement of global sustainable development goals subject to planetary boundaries will mostly be determined at national  and at sub-national level as regards contribution to cultures, economies, material use, and waste generation. This paper seeks to investigate planetary and Kenya’s county boundaries as development targets from a county development plan perspective.  The methodology provides an important tool for counties to play a more fulsome and active role in global sustainable development. Content analysis of the  nine limits, namely: climate change, novel entities, ozone depletion, aerosol loading, ocean acidification, biogeochemical flows, freshwater use, land-system change, and biosphere integrity, was performed in the context of  the  respective County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) 2018-2023. A total of 22 CIDPs for 22 counties are analysed to capture the content entailing issues pertaining to the above nine limits. Correlation analysis of the counts of the limits were generated and discussed. It was observed that the CIDPs cover between 30 to 60% of the expected content of the limits. This is a pointer to the extent to which the counties, and hence Kenya as a country, are ready as regards addressing planetary boundaries at local level. Further, correlation analysis on the counts on planetary boundaries versus peace issues revealed positive correlation between biodiversity and peace, with a correlation coefficient of 0.575. It is interesting to observe that the counties having strategies on biodiversity have associate peace initiatives. This is a pointer that promotion of biodiversity conservation is closely relate to peaceful outcomes.


Ang’u C, Muthama N, Mutai B (2016) Aerosol optical depth patterns associated with urbanization and weather in Nairobi and Lamu. J Meteorol Related Sci.

Busch Carol, Paul S. De Maret, Teresa Flynn, Rachel Kellum , Sheri Le, Brad Meyers, Matt Saunders, Robert White, and Mike Palmquist.. (1994 - 2012). Content Analysis. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University. Available at

Hoornweg D., M. Hosseini, C. Kennedy and A. Behdadi (2016). An urban approach to planetary boundarie. Ambio, A Journal of the Human Environment. ISSN 0044-7447 Volume 45, Number 5, Ambio (2016) 45:567-580. DOI 10.1007/s13280-016-0764-y

Dearing, J.A., R. Wang, K. Zhang, J.G. Dyke, H. Haberl, M.S. Hossain, P.G. Langdon, T.M. Lenton, et al. 2014. Safe and just operating spaces for regional social-ecological systems. Global Environmental Change 28: 227–238.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2007) Basic Report on Well-Being in Kenya. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Nairobi.

Makokha J. W., H. K. Angeyo1 and J. N. Muthama(2015). Sun-photometric Study and Multivariate Analysis of Aerosol Optical Depth Variability oversome representative sites of the Kenyan Atmosphere. International Journal of BioChemiPhysics,Vol.23, Dec. 2015, pp 15-28.

Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (2013) The National Water Master Plan 2030. Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Nairobi.

Ministry of Water and Irrigation (2009) Water Sector Strategic Plan (WSSP) 2009-2014. Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Nairobi.

Muthama, N. J., A. O. Opere and C. Oludhe: Equatorial Total ozone as a predictor of sea surface temperatures useful for East African seasonal rainfall prediction. J. Afric.Met.Soc. Vol. 6. No. 2, pp 1-10, 2003.

Nordhaus, T., M. Shellenberger, and L. Blomqvist. 2012. The planetary boundaries hypothesis: A review of the evidence. Oakland: Breakthrough Institute Raworth, K. 2012. A safe and just space for humanity. Oxford: Oxfam International.

OECD, 2001. Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century, (last

retrieved, December 19, 2018).

PACJA, 2019. Strengthening Climate Change Governance in Kenya. Status report Printed in collaboration with Wangari Maathai institute for Peace and Environmental Studies. (In Print)

Rockstrom, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, A. Persson, F.S. Chapin, E.F. Lambin, T.M. Lenton, M. Scheffer, et al. 2009. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461: 472–475.

Steffen, W., K. Richardson, J. Rockstro¨m, S.E. Cornell, I. Fetzer, E.M. Bennett, R. Biggs, S.R. Carpenter, et al. 2015. Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet.Science 327: 6223.

Valipour, M., M. Ahmadi, M. Raeini-Sarjaz, M. Sefidkouhi, A. Shahnazari, R. Fazlola, and A. Darzi- Naftchali. 2015. Agricultural water management in the world during past half century. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science 61(5): 657–678.

White, D. M. and E. E. Marsh, 2006. Content Analysis: A Flexible Methodology. LIBRARY TRENDS, Vol. 55, No. 1

How to Cite
Muthama, N. (2019). Sub-National policy readiness as regards the planet’s carrying capacity and environmental sustainability in Kenya. Journal of Sustainability, Environment and Peace, 1(1), 6-11.

Most read articles by the same author(s)