SAFEGUARDING NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION THROUGH ADVANCEMENT OF SOUND LEGISLATION AND POLICIES IN CONFORMITY WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA 2010.
The East African Wild Life Society through funding from State University of New York is implementing a project entitled: Safeguarding natural resource conservation through advancement of sound legislation and policies in conformity with the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
This project is facilitating a participatory process that will ensure that new policies and legislation providing clear roles and responsibilities and devolved mechanisms of governance in management of natural resource are enacted and adopted in line with the New Constitution in a period of 18 months (September 2011-March 2013).
This has become necessary since several gaps including: lack of clear legislative provisions on benefit sharing; lack of clarity in the constitution on the division of roles between National and County Governments including roles in management of natural resources; inadequate public consultations in law review; lack of a legislation on granting of rights and concessions for the exploitation of natural resources; and integration of provisions that protect rights and access of local communities to natural resources, have been identified.
Additionally, this project seeks to facilitate a process that will ensure the enactment of a devolved County Government legislation that supports conservation of natural resources and creates devolved systems/mechanisms of sharing of benefits.
Besides, the project links its work to the legislation review schedule of the Land and Environment thematic subcommittee established by the Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) and specific ministries (key ones being Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Regional Development) that are involved in the drafting of various policies and laws. The Commission has set in place tentative plans to engage with these Ministries. The priority legislation, policies and bills to be looked at by this project are:
· Drafting of Land Bills (three so far completed and enacted (Land Act, Land Registration Act and National Land Commission Act). Current focus is on the Community Land Bill.
· The Wildlife bill and Policy (already on-going and EAWLS is part of the team spearheading the review under another grant to which this project will compliment);
· Review of the Forests Act;
· Agreements related to natural resources (proposed by CIC to be completed by 3 years).
In consideration of the government’s calendar, the project has been monitoring timelines and schedule of meetings to proactively engage with the lead Ministries and CIC’s Land and Environment thematic group at all stages of the review (review, drafting and post publication of policies and bills).
The project began with the formation of a Technical Committee which later widened into a consortium (Fig.1) of experts in natural resource. This consortium held meetings to review the Land Bill, the Land Registration Bill and the National Land Commission Bill. Such meetings resulted in letters to the relevant Parliamentary Committees; meetings with the same committees and presentation of comments and memoranda to Parliamentarians; sharing of fact sheets with comments on the three bills with Civil Society Organizations and other relevant stakeholders at county level to enable them participate in public hearings organized by the Ministry of Lands. All these activities culminated in the enactment of the three Land Bills in April 2012.
Through this project, the EAWLS has also ensured the submission of a final draft of the Wildlife Bill and Policy to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife by facilitating a Technical Review Team appointed by the same Ministry. This Technical Team organized several working sessions in Naivasha and Nairobi and consolidated comments from all relevant stakeholders.
Currently, the EAWLS is fast-tracking the Community Land Bill that is under review and redrafting led by the Land Reform Transformation Unit (LRTU) of the Ministry of Lands. A concept note to aid this process has been drafted and is due for approval by the Ministry of Lands before commencement of the review process.