PCC-K Hosts Wildlife Conservation & Management Workshop

January 09, 2019
PCC-K Hosts Wildlife Conservation & Management Workshop

On December 7th, 2018, members of the Parliamentary Conservation Caucus-Kenya (PCC-K), the Environment and Natural Resource Committee, group ranch chairpersons, NGO leaders, and conservation experts convened in Nanyuki, Kenya for a day-long workshop to discuss the amendments to the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, the development of the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Five-Year Strategy 2018-2022, and the incorporation of the private sanctuaries and community conservancies model into the legislative agenda.

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Honorable Francis Chachu Ganya, Co-Chair of the PCC-K, opened the workshop with discussion surrounding the recently passed amendments to the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013. Stakeholder engagement played an important role in the development of these amendments, which increased efficiency, production, and implementation, and reduced ambiguity and leeway, while introducing benchmarks to penalties and sentencing.

Afterwards, Robert Njue from the Ministry of Tourism, State Department for Wildlife spoke about the development of the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Five-Year Strategy 2018-2022. Discussion surrounding the National Wildlife Strategy presented it as a major key to the future of Kenya, not just for wildlife, but for food security, healthcare, and energy, to name a few sectors. Mr. Njue specified that the goal of the strategy is to increase the value of wildlife in Kenya, with the planned motto for the public launch in January 2019 being “Kenyans for Wildlife, Wildlife for Kenyans.” With community involvement being recognized as critical by the strategy, Mr. Peter Hetz, Executive Director of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, spoke about how conservancies cut across all sections of the strategy, making them important components of the wildlife sector. Implementation of the strategy will involve grassroots effort, as all of its pillars incorporate conservancies and private sanctuaries.

This being the first-ever National Wildlife Strategy in Kenya, it gives the country a framework for conservation. Hon. Ganya expressed that capacity building of conservancies must continue and the strategy further serves as a structured way of engagement with county officials. Ms. Gladys Warigia of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) spoke of how her organization provides a coordinated way for the conservancies to engage with government. KWCA exists not only to create social cohesion for the conservancies, but additionally to continue to make sure conservancies are considered in the law. Ms. Warigia expressed that conservancies have existed long before the law and continue to inform and influence law through experience.

The conservancies model is one that has taken deep root in Kenya, particularly in Laikipia County, the location of the workshop, and is one the Members of Parliament must understand. The passing of the amendments to the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 was a significant outcome for the Caucus, and the bill now sits with the President awaiting assent to become law. With the National Wildlife Strategy’s goal being the engagement of all Kenyans from all walks of life, this was in sync with the workshop’s purpose to facilitate deeper engagements of local communities and government officials. The workshop brought together government officials and stakeholders who recognize the wildlife solutions that exist within conservancies.

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