Adaptation finance is designed to help vulnerable populations withstand effects of climate variability and change. However, levels of vulnerability seldom determine finance distribution. Political and economic preferences of national and local government decision-makers tend to direct funding streams. This article takes an institutional approach to adaptation finance allocation by comparing decentralized and devolved local governance structures managing adaptation finance in Kenya before and after the Constitution of 2010. Prior to reforms, funding was directed through decentralized mechanisms operating within district councils and local authorities; recently, devolution of political, administrative, and fiscal decision-making to county governments coincided with piloting of new local adaptation funds. Theory suggests that devolution institutionalizes more participative decision-making and fairer allocations. Evidence suggests vulnerable communities are indeed more likely to access, design, and receive allocations of finance in devolved political systems.


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pp. 118-139
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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