On 24th and 25th February 2015 Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) participated in public consultation meetings held in Isiolo and Nyeri respectively. More than 90 participants eager to give views turned up in both counties expressing noticeable interest in the areas of Regulations on Compensation, Wildlife Security and Access, Incentives and Benefit Sharing.
Public participation has become an essential part of implementing sustainable governance in wildlife conservation which has enhanced transparency, accountability as well as given much needed guidance to conservation. This is a global trend and Kenya is quickly adopting this best practice in an effort to ensure that the country’s irreplaceable wildlife heritage is preserved. It is in this respect that KWS has been conducting public hearings to get the views and opinions of the public concerning the subsidiary regulations. These regulations will guide the implementation of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 (WCMA) which came into force on January 10th 2014. These subsidiary regulations include Bio-Prospecting; Regulations on Compensation; Regulation of effective management of Wetlands; Wildlife Research; Access, Incentives and Benefit Sharing and Wildlife Security Operations.
The increase of wildlife related human fatalities has stimulated the discussion around defining compensation procedures as well as enhancing wildlife security by increasing the number of rangers, organized patrols, and modern security equipment. It has been put forward that pastoral grazing in the parks and reserves as well as the number of wildlife conservancies should be regulated.
Open dialogue has also meant that the different communities and organizations, both public and private, can air views on complex issues such as those pertaining to land use, pastoralism and environmental conservation. For instance accountability and transparency for the regulation of the effective management of wetlands was a key issue raised during the public consultation meetings held in February. Today it is unclear which of three key organizations namely; Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) and National Environmental Management Authority is responsible for the management of wetlands.
The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 has a total of 23 regulations that need promulgation and KWS as well as LWF are inviting interested members of the public to participate in this important discussion by sending views and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Stephen Nyaga at email@example.com LWF’s officer liaising with Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association who are facilitating the process.