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provide a more effective means ofenhancing environmental manage-ment, protection, implementation, anddeterrence.
Water resourcesThe availability of water resourcesdepends on a number of climatologi-
BiodiversitySpecific issues include genes, speciesand ecosystems; forestry; wildlife; bio-technology; and the community. Allsocieties, whether urban, rural, indus-trial, or non-industrial, draw on thebiodiversity of ecosystems and geneticresources to meet their basic needs.Through environmental perception andcultural adaptation, local communitieshave preserved and cultivated speciesfor centuries. Outside influence, andassociated land degradation, may leadto a loss of biodiversity. It is necessary,therefore, to identify the cause of thethreats to biodiversity, in order toprotect genes, species, habitats, andecosystems.
If a nation's biodiversity is to havea chance of survival, EIAs shouldbe made of national and local agri-cultural, wildlife, energy, and forestrypolicies. Biotechnology should also beresearched further in order to developmethods of hazard identification andexposure assessment. In particular,guidelines are required to minimize therisks to public safety posed by therelease of genetically engineered or-ganisms into the environment.
Policy, law, and incentivesEnvironmental impact assessments(EIA) of proposed activities, policies,programmes and development projectsshould be carried out early on in theproject cycle; preferably at the feasibil-ity stage. There is a need to establisha body to implement them, and to enactenforceable, effective laws and regula-tions based on sound social andenvironmental principles.
Kenya does not have a single,consolidated environmental or landlaw; instead provisions are scatteredthroughout numerous statutes, compli-cating the implementation process. TheNational Environmental Action Planwill review relevant laws in order torationalize the framework, and to
institutional policy, legal, and eco-nomic incentives; biodiversity (wild-life, forestry, and biotechnology);water resources; pollution control; hu-man settlement and urbanization; com-munity participation and public aware-ness; desertification and drought; sus-tainable agriculture and food security;and national environment informationsystems.
Will the National Water Master Plan be successful in tapping Kenya's potentialwater resources?
Kenya's National Environmental Action Planby Samuel K. MutisoA nation's natural resources are finite. Ifgovernments are going to do more than paylip service to environmentalists' arguments,how can they plan for economic and socialdevelopment that is sustainable, and politicallyacceptable?
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES WEREfirst highlighted on a global scale atthe 1972 United Nations Conferenceon Human Environment, held in Stock-holm. Since then, environmental issueshave been catapulted to the top ofnational and international developmentagendas, something clearly demon-strated at 1992's United Nations Con-ference on Environment and Develop-ment (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.UNCED concluded that sustainabledevelopment rests on the integrationof environmental and socio-economicissues. Every nation, therefore, needsto conserve the biosphere in order toachieve further development.
Since gaining independence in 1963,the Kenyan Government has taken akeen interest in development and en-vironmental issues, illustrated by thelaunch of the National EnvironmentalAction Plan (NEAP) in 1993. Inessence, NEAP is a blueprint forintegrating environmental manage-ment into development planning,thereby ensuring the effective use ofnatural resources, without jeopardizingthe needs of future generations. Onedirect outcome of this process is theadoption of a National EnvironmentPolicy, which will provide the broadframework for the sound managementof Kenya's resources.
Kenya is currently confronted with aseries of environmental problems whichinclude land degradation, air, and waterpollution, the disposal of solid wastedisposal, deforestation, threats to andloss of biodiversity, and coastal erosion.Most of these concerns are the result ofa growing population's increased pres-sure on natural resources, together withthe poor e'lforcement of the existingenviroll!!1ental laws and regulations.Environmental degradation has under-mined efforts to achieve sustainabledevelopment and, indirectly, the ca-pacity of current resources to meet theneeds of future generations.
As part of NEAP, nine Taskforceswere established to identify the majorenvironmental issues influencing sus-tainable resource exploitation and use.The specific areas explored were:
WATERLINES VOL. 13 NO.2 OCTOBER 1994 II
Tel: 0483 259209. Fax: 0483 503517. Telex: 859331 UNIVSY G.
For further details on this and other courses please contact:
Environmental Monitoring and Managementin Developing Countries
An intensive ten-week post-experience course for professionalsworking, or intending to work in developing countries
This annual course is held at the Robens Institute, University of Surrey.The course will focus on the development of appropriate, low-costmonitoring activities, the linkage of these to preventative and remedial.actions and monitoring as a management tool.
The principal areas of study include:
• Environmental and public health• Environmental monitoring• Environmental quality and analysis• Environmental and health education• Technical and engineering interventions• Programme and project management• Sector planning and requirements
Community participationand awarenessOne of the reasons why well-inten-tioned environmental projects fail, isbecause of a lack of communityparticipation and public awareness.When many environmental projects arefirst implemented, little is known aboutthe resources, skills, environmentalperceptions, and cultural barriers thatexist within the community. Thisignorance can lead to the failure ofprojects which may have receivedsubstantial donor and governmentfunding.
Real participation will only beachieved when all sections of thecommunity are involved at everyenvironmental-design, implementa-tion, and management stage. Capacity-building can be enhanced throughtraining, educational programmes, andawareness-raising programmes. It isalso important to promote and integrateindigenous knowledge and skills inenvironmental management.
conflicts have aggravated land-useplanning in rural areas. Consequently,there is a need to develop a comprehen-sive urban and rural land use andsettlement policy that takes into ac-count socio-cultural values.
Desertification and droughtThe arid and semi-arid areas of Kenyasuffer from desertification and frequentdrought. Briefly, the main environ-mental issues include the assessmentand mapping of desertification;drought-monitoring and early warningsystems; land tenure and propertyregimes; rangelands-resource manage-ment; socio-economic characteristicsand population dynamics; popular par-ticipation; research and development;and institutional arrangement.
These issues can be addressed inthree principal ways. First, the use ofremote-sensing techniques, which arecomparatively cost-effective, rapid,and which provide information peri-odically. Secondly, socio-economicdata should be included in any assess-ment of the desertification process, asit is influenced by human activities.Thirdly, there is a need for thegovernment to collaborate with therelevant international and regional in-stitutions to facilitate the acquisitionand development of appropriate tech-nology in the assessment and mappingof desertification.
Droughts occur in cycles. They aredifficult to predict, but their effects canbe mitigated. Besides leading to food
World Heal1h OrganizationCollaborating Centre for theProtection of Drinking WaterOuality and Human Health
which are hazardous to biological life.Kenya's existing policies and legisla-tion are not comprehensive enough tocontrol gaseous emissions, whichresults in inadequate enforcement.
There is a need to formulate acomprehensive and well-articulatedpolicy on the control and managementof gaseous emissions, liquid wastes,solid wastes, hazardous-waste manage-ment, and noise pollution.
Settlements andurbanizationIn urban areas, the challenge is toprovide adequate social and publicamenities, and transportation; and toremove liquid and solid wastes. Highpopulation-growth rates and migrationhave led to the development of slumsand squatter settlements, with theirinherent social and economIcproblems.
In rural areas, many of the environ-mental problems are associated witha lack of a comprehensive and sustain-able land-use planning policy whichhas led to the sub-division of landinto uneconomic units. In addition,different tenurial systems and land-use
Jennie LynchEnvironment Division
Robens InstituteUniversity of Surrey
GuildfordSurrey GU2 5XH
UKIns til u I e
Pollution controlThe issues examined under this head-ing include: toxic emissions, and theindiscriminate disposal of liquid andsolid wastes, as well as the impropermanagement of chemicals, some of
cal, meteorological, and hydro-geo-logical factors. The rapid growth of theworld's population, and the demandsof the manufacturing and service in-dustries, have created stiff competitionfor what is already available. Thisproblem can be appreciated fully whenone realizes that over 80 per cent ofKenya's land area falls within the aridand semi-arid zone (ASAL areas)which is characterized by low andunreliable rainfall amounts in strongseasonal concentrations, which varyconsiderably from season to season,and year to year. High rates ofevapotranspiration reduce the amountof water stored in the few reservoirs.
It is clear, therefore, that there is apressing need to assess the potentialof all available surface and under-ground water resources in Kenya, interms of both quality and quantity.This is a feature clearly addressed inthe National Water Master Plan.
12 WATERLINES VOL.13 "i[0.2 OCTOBER 1994
Local communities' experience and coping mechanisms must be incorporatedinto any drought-preparedness and recovery programme.
deficits, a reduction in water resources,and increases in poverty, droughtaccelerates the rate of land degrada-tion. There is a need to strengthen andexpand the early warning and monitor-ing systems, and the drought-prepared-ness and recovery programmes; and tolink meteorological knowledge to thelocal experience and mechanisms ofcoping with drought.
Sustainable agricultureand food securitySustainable agriculture and food secu-rity present twin objectives which haveto be worked towards, if environmentalconservation is to be achieved. Envi-ronmental degradation is caused, in themain, by inappropriate land-use prac-tices. Population increases, and a de-cline in both the availability andquality of the arable land in high- andmedium-potential areas, coupled withKenya's high proportion of ASALareas, have reduced the country's foodresources. In addition, physical andsocio-economic factors, adverse cli-matic conditions, poor soils, land-tenure and land-use conflicts, pooragricultural infrastructure, and the lackof credit have contributed to low foodproduction.
Sustainable agricultural productionwill come about through an increasein water resources, improvements insoil fertility, the development of infras-tructural support services, and betterprocessing and marketing of agricul-tural products. There is a need toprovide adequate funds, and trainedpersonnel and equipment to conductresearch on indigenous food plants,biological pest control, organic fertiliz-ers, agro-forestry, soil and water man-agement, and on-farm grain storage.
Information systemsEnvironmental information systemsare useful as part of the decision-making process, and to aid the im-plementation of programmes and pro-jects. In Kenya, environmental infor-mation is collected, stored, and usedby several institutions, including gov-ernment ministries, NGOs, privatecompanies, and educational institu-tions. This information covers biologi-cal and physical resources; agricultureand land use; and the socia-economicand cultural dimensions of the coun-try's resources.
Unfortunately, sometimes the infor-mation lacks appropriate analysis;there may not be a central referralsystem, or the information is storedon incompatible storage media. Envi-
ronmental information should be col-lected and stored in a standardizedmedium and format. It is also impor-tant to digitize all information, and toproduce computerized information sys-tems, such as GIS (Geographic Infor-mation Systems): data collection, stor-age analysis, and presentation tech-niques for planning purposes. Informa-tion on Kenya's resource status shouldalso be published in regular reports andbulletins to reach the planners andlocal people who interact with theenvironment on a day-to-day basis. Itis important to tap indigenous environ-mental information which has enabledthose communities to use resourcessustainably.
Earth inventoryIt is evident that the NEAP is chargedwith the task of analysing environ-mental issues and of setting forth anenvironmental strategy to deal withidentified problems and their relation-
ship to economic development. Thisis in line with the resolutions of theEarth Summit (now published asAgenda 21) which calls on all coun-tries to establish a comprehensivenational inventory of land resources,and to classify land resources accord-ing to their most appropriate uses.
Kenya's natural resources are finite.Certain developments and practiceshave led to widespread environmentaldegradation, and have underminedlong-term economic development. Theissues identified above must be ad-dressed in order to ensure developmentwhich is sustainable, and which willnot compromise the needs of futuregenerations .•
Dr Samuel K. Mutiso is Head of the Departmentof Geography. and Acting Dean, Faculty ofSocial Sciences, at the University of Nairobi.He was Chairman of the Desertification andDrought Taskforce of Kenya's NationalEnvironment Action-Plan Process. The viewsexpressed in this article are those of the author.
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