In a rare and welcomed move, the Board Chair of KWS, Dr. Richard Leakey, and his respective board members, hosted a two-day open house meeting on January 21 and 22, 2016 to discuss over 20 regulations that have been designed to interpret the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act and put it into action. Dr. Leakey set the stage for open and honest discussions saying; “some of these regulations are punitive and confusing, let’s get them sorted out.”
With more than 40 participants drawn from the private sector, conservation groups, research institutions and KWS, Dr. Leakey invited forthright discussion of what works and what doesn’t work in the new draft regulations. Ensuring there would be no “acrimony or recrimination” for being outspoken on the Act and its regulations, Dr. Leakey chaired the two day event while drafting consultants took note of public inputs. LWF was actively represented for these discussions.
The two days focused on a range of topics including wildlife research, access, incentives and benefit sharing as well as activities in protected areas. The group also addressed Bio-Prospecting, Community Participation, and the Wildlife Compensation Regulation. The full list of draft regulations in their present state can be obtained from the LWF website – www.laikipia.org under “resources” tab.
Perhaps of biggest concern to LWF members will be the final regulations governing the Establishment of Conservancies; Access, Incentives and Benefit Sharing; and the Wildlife Compensation Regulations. Under the Act’s definition of protected area, conservancies will be included, and thus conservancies of all types have a vested interest in these regulations. LWF and the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (among others) are monitoring these developments carefully.
Expect the next draft of regulations out in the next two months using the feedback from these discussions. LWF and the KWS Board will remain actively engaged in creating a more “enabling environment” for all aspects of wildlife conservation in Kenya, and will be keeping the public informed of these developments.