The Government of Kenya, through the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, has overhauled the Community Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees (CWCCC) after determining that they are not functional or sustainable. New Community Wildlife Conservation Committees have been appointed by an amendment to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act.
As of August 1, 2019, a new country-focused committee will be chaired by the County Commissioner with membership from four arms of government – wildlife, agriculture, livestock, & medical, and four “community” members.
This nine person committee will have responsibility for:
1. Approving compensation that has been confirmed
2. Mobilizing citizens to conserve
3. Contributing to Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation and management.
But how will an impoverished government realize the functions of these committees? The gazette notice says nothing about how these committees will be funded and mobilized.
We submit that this overhaul of county conservation committees still doesn’t address the key matters affecting wildlife conservation in the country:
1. There is no prioritization of wildlife areas – instead, every county is treated equally, irrespective of their wildlife agenda/challenges.
2. These appointments fail to take into account the full set of recommendations offered by the Wildlife Compensation Task Force appointed earlier this year. This report has yet to be published.
3. There is no sense of how these committees will coordinate and cooperate on matters related to cross-county wildlife corridors, dispersal areas, and human wildlife conflict.
We’ve highlighted the counties and their new Committee membership affecting the Greater Laikipia Landscape, in the recent gazette announcement <here>. The good news is that many of the Committee members are also members of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, where relevant.