Laikipia Conservancies Association LCA, welcomes a set of ground-breaking directives issued by the President H.E Dr William Ruto, that have a significant impact on conservation in key conservation areas namely Laikipia, Kajiado, Machakos (Athi Kapiti), Taita Taveta and Baringo.
These directives, emanated from a critical meeting between conservation sector players and the government where land management issues such as land ownership, adjudication and change of user were identified as some of the issues affecting sustainable wildlife conservation and management in the country.
Tasked with unraveling the intricate conservation agenda in the country, the working group was formed and immediately embarked on unpacking four thematic areas being, benefits sharing, titling and registration of conservation areas, carbon credits and carbon markets, and the critical restoration of degraded rangelands and ecosystems. Presentations were made on the viability of conservation as a form of land use by regional conservancy associations, the Conservation Alliance of Kenya, and The Nature Conservancy and other key players.
Matunge made a case for the contribution of conservation to Laikipia County as well as the National GDP - a total of Ksh 5,990,844,756 in taxes paid, employment of over 5,000 people as well as investments in security, infrastructure as well as livelihood projects in the County.
The President then issued the following directives; a halt in licenses and permits for projects in vital conservation areas, the implementation of wildlife corridors and dispersal areas taskforce report of 2016, and the elevation of conservation withinnational land use policies.
“The halting of issuances of licences and permits for various projects in key conservation areas is momentous, given the rampant encroachment on wildlife corridors and breeding areas, which has only exacerbated human-wildlife conflicts”.
Another directive halted further land subdivision and change of land use in identified conservation areas until a comprehensive conservation policy is finalized. Mr. Matungeapplauded this decision, stressing that small land subdivisions have led to unproductive land use and the fragmentation of critical ecosystems.
Fast-tracking the implementation of the Community Land Act of 2016 is poised to empower local communities and enhance collaboration in conservation efforts. Matunge highlighted the benefits of community ownership, emphasizing that legal documentation now provides communities with the authority to engage with stakeholders, including establishing conservancies.
Policies for a Sustainable Future
Matunge has also hailed the directive to review the National Land Use Policy and the Physical and Land Use Act of 2019 to include conservation as a form of land use, as forward-thinking. He underscored that categorizing conservation as a land use would recognize it’s importance in the broader ecosystem and prevent furtherfragmentation.
Similarly, the formation of a multi-sectoral team to formulate and implement the country's conservation policy, spear-headed by the State Department for Wildlife, is a critical element in the implementation of the over-arching directives.
A Transformational Era
Matunge has hailed the significance of the presidential directive in Kenya's conservation space and lauded the cross-sectoral discussions that will go a long way in restoring ecosystems, and integrate communities into the conservation decision-making processes.
As Kenya embarks on this transformative agenda, the nation's commitment to conservation and sustainable development shines bright, casting a hopeful glowover the future of its natural treasures.