EAWLS Newsletter - August 2016

On 29th July 2016, The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) launched a Wiki-style website dubbed “Misitu Yetu Kenya”. The website contains information on Kenya’s forests and is expected to boost transparency and access to forest information in Kenya. The launch was graced by Director, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) as represented by Lucy Kiboi, Deputy Director- Corporate Services. The website was one of the outputs of a project entitled ‘Improving transparency and access to information in Kenya’s forestry sector’ supported by the FAO through the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme.

During the launch in Nairobi, the Society’s Executive Director, Julius Kamau, said that the portal would go a long way in ensuring that key information about the forestry sector in Kenya was readily available to the public. Find us on facebook The East African Wild Life Society Follow us ‘‘Access to and provision of high quality forest-related information is crucial for sustainable management of forests,” said Mr. Kamau. “This website is expected to enhance sharing and easy access of information by all stakeholders and in the long-run improve forest governance in Kenya.’’

It is the people’s fundamental right to have access to quality information for increased accountability and transparency, he added. Lucy Kiboi, Deputy Director, Corporate Services, at KFS said that KFS commits to work and meaningfully engage with other government ministries and institutions at national level, county governments, private sector, civil society Organizations, community forest associations, development partners like FAO and indeed with East African Wild Life Society and Kenya Forests Working Group to ensure that these very important guiding principles of access to information, transparency, and accountability are not only mainstreamed in forest conservation and management but also accorded sufficient resources.

‘‘Furthermore the policy brief from this project and its recommendations will in a great way inform our oncoming subsidiary legislations, strategies and plans with regards to improving access to forest information in Kenya,’’ she added.

Philip Kisoyian, Head of Natural Resource Management Unit at FAO speaking during the function said: “There is a strong linkage between access to information and good governance, and this applies to the forestry sector. As FAO we supported EAWLS in this project to improve transparency and access to information in the forestry sector. This project is aimed at raising awareness on the need for transparency as well as the establishment of this forest-focused wiki style website, that we are launching today.”

The ‘Misitu yetu’ Kenya website is one of its kind and will act as a one stop shop for up to date and accurate digital information about forests. The website is interactive and robust in that it will allow people to upload and update forest information. However to ensure accuracy, the uploaded information will undergo quality assurance before it can be accessed by various audiences.

EAWLS wishes to thank FAO for the support and looks forward to continued support in scaling up this very noble initiative.

THE ‘MISITU YETU’ KENYA WEBSITE IS ONE OF ITS KIND AND WILL ACT AS A ONE STOP SHOP FOR UP TO DATE AND ACCURATE DIGITAL INFORMATION ABOUT FORESTS.

The website can be accessed at: http://www.misituyetukenya.org

On 15th July 2016, a team from the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) presented the key findings of the recent Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) Tourist Facilities Audit Report to Narok County Government delegation led by H.E the Governor Samuel Kuntai Ole Tunai. Also present during the meeting were the County Executive Committee Member, Tourism & Wildlife, Ms. Lena Munge, Deputy Secretary Admin (Mara), Narok County, Mr. Simel Sankei; Mr. Brian Heath, Chief Executive Officer, Mara Conservancy and Ms. Chelsea Keyser, Deputy Chief of Party, PREPARED, USAID.

This audit was undertaken by the EAWLS in partnership with the County Government of Narok, and Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy Adaptation Research and Economic Development (PREPARED) Project, funded by USAID/Kenya and East Africa. The findings of this report will inform the review process of the Masai Mara National Reserve Management plan.

The County Government of Narok, PREPARED and EAWLS agreed that it will be essential to commission Phase II audit that will focus on the tourism facilities and other developments in conservancies adjacent to the MMNR, as this information will be critical in informing the management plan review process.

EAWLS wishes to thank PREPARED/ USAID and Narok County Government for the continued support and partnership towards our common goal in conserving the MMNR.

15th July 2016 - Day East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) presented the key findings of the recent Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) Tourist Facilities Audit Report to Narok County Government.

 

The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) last month hosted four different groups of delegations from China who visited the Society’s offices to learn more about its work in wildlife and environmental conservation.

The visits to EAWLS were facilitated by the Mara Conservation Fund (MCF), a Chinese non-governmental organization dedicated to helping conserve Africa’s lions and other endangered wildlife species and their habitats. EAWLS and MCF have worked together since 2013 and have developed programmes to combat poaching, illegal wildlife trade and other threats in East Africa and China. The two organizations are united by their passion for wildlife conservation.

EAWLS is keen on working closely with Chinese organizations and institutions considering the growing number of tourists from the Asian country visiting Kenya and the illegal ivory and Rhino horn trade between Africa and Asia. Last year, EAWLS with the support of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nairobi unveiled the first ever Swara magazine in Chinese (Mandarin)

The publication is a major advocacy tool targeting Chinese nationals in China as well as those working and living in Africa. This version of Swara is also a platform for dialogue, exchanges and sharing of best practices and lessons among the people of East Africa and China.

After a long and extensive judging process, The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) officially announced the East African Wild Life Society’s Photo Competition Winners on 21 July.

Usha Harish emerged as the East African Wild Life Society Photo Competition 2016 winner. Her photo, “A tough battle” emerged as the overall best in the just concluded competition.

An accountant turned photographer, Usha is an avid traveller, loves wildlife and nature. Beautiful colours, animal patterns and animal behavior intrigue her as much as the act of translating those into images using the camera. Usha currently lives in Kampala, Uganda with her family.

The 1st runner– up was Greg Metro for his photo captioned “Mythical”, While Geet Chana’s “Elephant Bulls” took the 2nd runner-up position.

EAWLS will in September 2016 hold a series of exhibitions in various venues around Nairobi to showcase the winning photos from the competition. All the winning photos will also be published in the October-December issue of Swara magazine.

The photo competition was held to commemorate EAWLS 60th year anniversary and to showcase the beauty of East Africa and its vast array of species while providing an interactive and fun way in which people from all walks of life can show their love for nature by sharing their pictures. The annual competition also offers an unparalleled opportunity for exposure for companies and nature photographers and spurs conversations on environmental protection.

Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and shortlisted participants!

USHA HARISH EMERGED AS THE EAST AFRICAN WILD LIFE SOCIETY PHOTO COMPETITION 2016 WINNER. HER PHOTO, “A TOUGH BATTLE” EMERGED AS THE OVERALL BEST IN THE JUST CONCLUDED COMPETITION.

 

The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) participated in a three-day workshop organized by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) from 26th to 28th July 2016 to discuss preparatory activities for the establishment of Transboundary Conservation Area (TBCA) between Kenya and Tanzania.

The TBCA is a tool designed to mainstream ecosystem management objectives and priorities into productive sector practices and policies. It is also intended to build capacity in restoring the health of ecosystems at the local, national and transboundary levels. The pilot ecosystem-oriented approach incorporates spatial planning, water management, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and protected area management in Kenya and Tanzania.

Participants from Kenya and Tanzania were invited to give recommendations and deliberate on the preparatory activities needed to kick-start the programme, which will be funded by Indian Ocean Commission. EAWLS is a major player in the marine sector as it has been building the capacity of local fishers to sustainably utilize the resources around them. Furthermore, EAWLS has been instrumental in bringing about key regulations on ring-net fishing.

 

The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) Executive Director, Julius Kamau, on 26th July 2016 paid a courtesy call on Mr. Kitili Mbathi, Director-General, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The two discussed possible ways of deepening the partnership and collaboration between EAWLS and KWS, including access to information, engagement and consultation.

KWS is a state corporation tasked with the responsibility to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya by enforcing the relevant laws and regulations. Having worked together since 1965, EAWLS and KWS have been strategic partners in promoting sustainable management and conservation of wildlife and their habitats in Kenya.

In the past, EAWLS has supported the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department, the KWS predecessor, in various conservation initiatives, including donating aircrafts and antipoaching, intelligence gathering and surveillance equipment. The Society also supported the development of infrastructure, including marking boundaries in reserves such as Kora National Reserve, establishing rhino sanctuaries such as the Nakuru Rhino Sanctuary, securing water resources in parks, for example in Amboseli National Park, construction of fire breaks and fencing in national parks and contributing in carrying out animal counts.

EAWLS was also instrumental in advocating for the establishment of a quasi-government institution to run the national parks and reserves in Kenya. These efforts led to the establishment of KWS in 1989. Since then EAWLS and KWS have been playing a complementary role in wildlife conservation and management.

In 2013, EAWLS was part of the Wildlife Security Task Force established to study wildlife security and management in the context of encroachment, illegal grazing and over-development in protected areas. The recommendations of the Task Force are being used to address the surge in poaching and ivory and rhino horn trafficking. In addition, EAWLS played a key role in the formulation of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013).

As EAWLS, marks 60 years in conservation this year, we wish to thank KWS for the mutual collaboration and for being a corporate member to the Society.

HAVING WORKED TOGETHER SINCE 1965, EAWLS AND KWS HAVE BEEN STRATEGIC PARTNERS IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF WILDLIFE AND THEIR HABITATS IN KENYA.

 

The Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG) of the East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS), in July 2016 participated in a two-day consultative workshop on the Kenya Country Environmental Analysis at Sarova Panafric Hotel organized by the World Bank.

The aim of the workshop was to identify Kenya’s critical environmental and natural resource management challenges at national and county levels. The workshop narrowed down on emerging environmental issues in the northern and northeastern counties with respect to environmental degradation resulting from human activities around the Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps.

The World Bank uses the Country Environmental Analysis (CEA) as a key diagnostic tool to assess Kenya’s environmental priorities for development, environmental implications of key policies, as well as the country’s capacity to address them.

The CEA aims to improve the government’s understanding on critical environmental and natural resource challenges in Kenya as the country strives to implement Vision 2030 on economic development. The analysis supports the devolution process in Kenya by assessing how counties are prioritizing and implementing environmental activities and strengthening the role of the private sector in natural resource management.

This is intended to inform decisionmaking and promote ways to achieve sustainable economic growth.

The initial findings of the CEA were presented to stakeholders at the national and county level and the various civil society organisations at the workshop. The issues raised in the analysis were divided into the following thematic areas: Drylands (ASALS); Wildlife and Nature-based Tourism; Fisheries and Wetlands; Forestry; Land tenure and ownership; Coastal and marine ecosystems; Mountain ecosystems;. The World Bank intends to hold a CEA stakeholder validation workshop that will incorporate input shared during the consultative workshop.

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