As part of its key mandate in influencing natural resources utilization and management in the country, WWF-Kenya supported Lamu County in the development –of The Lamu County Forest Conservation and Management Draft Bill-2017. The bill is the product of consultations and meetings with key stakeholders led by the county government, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Museums of Kenya, National Environment Management Authority, Office of the President, Conservancies, Civil Society Organizations and communities living within and adjacent to the forests.
This bill has now been handed over to the county through the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Tourism, Trade, Natural Resources and Culture for submission to the County Assembly. The draft bill among other key objectives seeks to: provide guidance for governance and sustainable management of forests under the county government, promote forest practices that support livelihoods and equitable benefits and promote socio-cultural values of forest dependent communities. Among key asks, the bill proposes the formation of a County Forest Conservation Committee whose roles will include:
- Advise the County Executive Member on policy issues.
- Consider and recommend the establishment of County forests.
- Advise on establishment, review of policies and rules for marketing of and trade in forest produce within the County.
- Advise on establishment of forest conservancy areas for purposes of conservation and management.
- Consider proposals for County forest concessions, timber harvesting contracts and special use permits as defined under the provisions of this Act
Ensure the fair distribution of benefits derived from resources in county forests. The committee has room for the participation of 5 additional members of the public persons appointed from the county who include representatives from:
- Private forest owners
- Community owned forests
- Private sector
- Woodfuel groups
- Non-governmental organization
The draft bill has been widely disseminated to stakeholders in Lamu County in anticipation of collecting comprehensive views from stakeholders once the bill is adopted by the county and brought back to the stakeholders for further input through public participation.
The passing of this bill would advance participatory forest management and conservation in Lamu in addition to equitable benefit sharing of resources derived from the county forests.
Article by Alex Kubasu/ WWF-Kenya