Draft Wetland policy April and Policies/Draft Wetlands ¢  SESSIONAL PAPER ON NATIONAL WETLANDS

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  • REPUBLIC OF KENYA

    FINAL

    DRAFT (Revised)

    SESSIONAL PAPER

    ON

    NATIONAL WETLANDS CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

    April 2008

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword 4 Introduction 6 Background 6 Types and distribution of wetlands 6 Existing policies and legislation 6 Wetlands policy formulation process 6 Principles, Goals and Objectives 9 Principles 9 Goal 9 Objectives 9 1.0 Importance, Significance and Values of wetlands 11 1.1 Wetlands Functions and Services 11 1.2 Wetland Products 13 2.0 Challenges and Strategies in Wetlands Conservation and Management 14 2.1 Challenges and threats 14 2.1.1 Reclamation and Conversion of wetlands 15 2.1.2 Overexploitation of goods and services 15 2.1.3 Pollution, Eutrophication and Salinisation of wetlands 16 2.1.4 Alien Invasive Species 16 2.2 Conservation and management 16 2.2.1 Ownership of wetlands 17 2.2.2 Establishment of wetland conservation areas 17 2.2.3 Wetlands of International importance 18 2.2.4 Restoration and Rehabilitation of wetlands 18 2.2.5 Artificial Wetlands 18 2.2.6 Trans- boundary wetlands 18 2.3 Research awareness and education 18 2.3.1 Inventorying, Monitoring and Information Systems 18

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    2.3.2 Capacity and Human Resource Development 18 2.3.3 Education and Public Awareness 18 2.3.4 Wetlands, User rights and livelihoods 19 3.0 Legal and Institutional Arrangements 20 3.1 Legal and legislative reforms 20 3.2 Institutional arangements 20 3.3 Resource Mobilization 21 4.0 Sector linkages at National and international levels 22 4.1 Coordination with related policies 22 4.2 Promoting International Cooperation, obligations and Actions 4.3 Gender and youth issues 23 4.4 Non-State Actors 23 4.5 HIV/AIDS 23

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    FOREWORD Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems being only second to the tropical rainforests. They perform many functions that maintain the ecological integrity of the systems and also provide many goods and services. The functions and benefits provided by wetlands are especially important for the general public as they support agriculture, tourism, industry, biodiversity conservation, social economic and cultural activities. Kenya has a variety of wetlands that stretch from coastal and marine wetlands to inland freshwater lakes, rivers, dams and swamps as well as the saline lakes of the rift valley system, constructed wetlands in irrigation schemes and sewerage treatment systems and the mountain bogs, peat and glacier lakes. Some of these wetlands are recognized as important conservation areas like National parks, National reserves, Ramsar sites, Important Bird Areas and World Heritage Sites. Apart from being biodiversity hotspots, the wetland resources are equally crucial for income generation, livelihood and well being of the communities However, due to lack of effective management mechanisms and proper appreciation of their true worth, wetlands have continued to be degraded through unsustainable activities, conversion and overexploitation of their resources. The pressures to wetlands have been exercabated by catchment degradation and pollution leading to proliferation of invasive species. The Kenya government has recognized the importance of wetlands and their contribution to her gross domestic product. Kenya ratified the Ramsar convention (Ramsar, 1971) in 1990 and has since embarked on comprehensive reforms to address sustainable utilization of wetland resources. In the past, Kenya pursued a sectoral approach to conservation and development, which has not addressed the cross cutting environmental and conservation issues. This has led to intersectoral inconsistencies leading to further loss of the country's natural resources including wetlands. The integrity of wetland ecosystems is very much dependent on the conservation of catchment areas which have suffered immensely as a result of encroachment and massive deforestation. In recognition of the need to involve more actors to ensure an integrated and harmonized conservation and management by the government as well as the other affected players, the government has seen the need for a national policy framework. The Policy seeks to ensure that the plans and activities of the government and wetland stakeholders promote conservation and sustainable/ wise use of wetlands. It provides a framework for actions to improve institutional and organizational arrangements, address legislation and government policies, increase knowledge and awareness of wetlands and their values, review the status of and identify priorities for wetlands in a national context, and address problems at particular wetland sites. The development of this Policy is in cognizance of the importance of wetlands nationally and Kenya’s obligation under the Ramsar Convention. The policy takes into consideration the broader national environmental frameworks, particularly the Environment Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) 1999, the country’s premier framework environmental law, the Water Act 2002, the Water Policy and the Forest Policy 2007.

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    The policy spells out clearly eight objectives to achieve its aim. These are;

    i. Establish an effective and effecient institutional and legal framework for integrated management and wise use of wetlands which will provide an enabling environment for the participation of all stakeholders.

    ii. Enhance and maintain functions and values derived from wetlands, protect biological

    diversity and improve essential processes and life-support systems of wetlands.

    iii. Promote communication, education and public awareness among stakeholders to enhance their participation in wetland conservation.

    iv. Carry out demand driven research and monitoring on wetlands to improve scientific

    information and knowledge base.

    v. Enhance capacity building within relevant institutions and for personnel involved in conservation and management of wetlands.

    vi. Establish a national wetlands information management system and database including tools

    and packages to targeted groups. vii. Promote innovative planning and integrated management approaches towards wetlands

    conservation and management in Kenya

    viii. Promote partnership and cooperation at regional and international levels for the management of transboundary wetlands and migratory species.

    The Government is committed to the implementation of this Policy, and acknowledges that development of implementation plan(s) and mechanisms for cross-sectoral coordination will be critical in ensuring the usefulness of the policy in wetland conservation and management. Honourable John Michuki EGH MP Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources.

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    INTRODUCTION Wetlands Policy formulation process Wetlands are areas permanently or seasonally flooded by water where plants and animals have become adapted and include swamps, marshes, bogs, shallow lakes, ox-bow lakes, dams, river meanders and floodplains, as well as riverbanks, lakeshores and seashore where wetland plants grow. It also includes marine and intertidal wetlands such as deltas, estuaries, mud flats, mangroves, salt marshes, sea grass beds and shallow reefs. Globally, wetlands occupy about 6% of the earth’s surface. Kenya's wetlands occupy about 3% to 4%, which is approximately 14,000 km2 of the land surface and fluctuates up to 6% in the rainy seasons. They provide many ecological and socio-economic goods and services. These include water supply, food production, construction materials, and products for the cottage industry, tourism and recreation. The ecological services comprise flood control, water recharge and discharge, water filtration, nutrient storage and re-cycling and wildlife habitats. The process of developing a National Wetland Conservation and Management Policy in Kenya has taken over ten years (1997- 2008). The need and obligation to have a National policy on wetlands conservation has been felt since 1990 when Kenya ratified the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The policy was required to mitigate the impacts of high human population increase, escalating pressure on land and natural resources and to provide a vision to mitigate the diverse challenges that affect wetlands conservation and wise use. The principle of broad consultation with and participation of all key stakeholders guided the policy formulation process. The process took into account the stakeholders’ contributions and recommendations on all pertinent issues touching on the management of wetlands in Kenya. The policy development process involved gathering of scientific knowledge on wetlands conservation and wise use. Technical and professional capacity which was provided at the initial stages of the policy by a secretariat, a national steering committee, hired consultants and other resource persons who were engaged to steer the process. At a later stage a national task force was constituted under the supervision and guidance of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). At the initial stages financial resources and related logistics were availed by various donors to enable the team to visit the provinces and wetland sites to collect i