Focus Areas of Advocacy
We work with governments, CSOs, communities, and development partners to advocate for better conservation and management of East Africa’s natural resources.
Our work involves Advocacy and policy development for better conservation and sustainable management of wildlife, forests, wetlands and marine ecosystems. In accordance with our Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, our advocacy work is currently anchored on five important issues causing biodiversity loss and degradation.
“If nothing is done about climate change, we can forget about biodiversity” (Wilson E.O. 2019, Biodiversity & Climate change).
Climate change is a global concern and a principal threat to the survival …
Climate change is a global concern and a principal threat to the survival of biodiversity and humanity’s future.
Like the rest of the world, in East Africa, we are witnessing erratic weather conditions causing floods, prolonged drought, rising temperatures, melting glaciers and rising sea levels.
We are keen on providing solutions to climate change including ecosystem-based adaptation and climate change mitigation at local, national and regional levels. We aim at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the use of clean sources of energy as well as restoration of carbon sink ecosystems including tree planting of forests and mangroves.
Up to 80% of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic. By 2050 we will have more plastics in the oceans than fish and 99% of all seabirds will have ingested plastic if nothing is done to reverse the trend warns the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
We are keen on addressing environmental pollution with a specific interest in plastic and effluent pollution in the region of East Africa.
Plastic pollution is a menace to the environment and one of the most serious threats to the planet’s health. The UN estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, unless governments and the private sector promote more resource-efficient design, production, use and sound management of plastics throughout their life cycle.
More than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism and marine ecosystems. Since plastic is not biodegradable, plastic waste that finds its way into the ocean will remain there for hundreds of years releasing toxic chemicals into the seas. Only less than 14% of all plastic is recyclable.
An estimated 600 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in Uganda most of which end up in drainage channels, wetlands, natural watercourses, manholes, undeveloped plots and on the roadside. The situation in Kenya is not any different as 8% of the total waste is plastic out of which 15% is recycled and the rest of 85% finds its way in waterways, parks and open spaces. The extent of micro-plastics presence in the aquatic environment in Tanzania remains largely unreported, however, beach clean-ups in Dar es Salaam show that typically more than 70% of anthropogenic litter along the beaches is comprised of plastics.
Over the last decade, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have banned the use and sale of single-use plastic bags and bottles in an effort to curb single-use plastic pollution. While these are steps in the right direction, much more still needs to be done for successful implementation and management of plastic wastes.
Effluent pollution is a common problem in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in which sewers, domestic and industrial liquid waste pollutants are released into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove hazardous compounds, which hence become harmful to humans, animals and aquatic life.
Prevention of industrial effluent pollution in East Africa region is an issue that has not been given proper attention in the planning, implementation and maintenance of industrial activities. This is further exacerbated by lack of effluent monitoring mechanism to check and evaluate the quality of the effluent at the plants.
There is need for a monitoring mechanism with adequate equipment, qualified staff and authority to enforce laws to implement sufficient control measures at each industry.
We are keen on advocating for better effluent and plastic waste management in the region of East Africa. Get involved with our environmental pollution projects or join us today to support our work.
Deforestation ranks at the top in the global environmental agenda and its effects include habitat loss, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, disruption of water cycles, increasing soil erosion, land fragmentation, disruption of livelihoods, human-wildlife conflicts …
Deforestation ranks at the top in the global environmental agenda and its effects include habitat loss, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, disruption of water cycles, increasing soil erosion, land fragmentation, disruption of livelihoods, human-wildlife conflicts, reduced land productivity and consequent degradation of forest ecosystems.
In recent years, Kenya’s forests have been depleted at an alarming rate of about 5,000 hectares per annum. This is estimated to lead to an annual reduction in water availability of approximately 62 million cubic meters, translating to an economic loss to the economy of over USD 19 million. Uganda has been losing an estimated 250,000Ha of forests annually according to National Forest Authority (NFA) for the period 2005-2010. Deforestation seems to be highest in forestlands with weak management and tenure security.
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are all signatories to the Paris Agreement and REDD+ implementation, which calls for conservation and enhancement of forests and adoption of policy approaches and incentives that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Join us today and support our Forest Challenge Forest Rehabilitation Programme that aims to restore 600Ha of degraded montane forests and restore important water catchment areas in Kenya.
Disregarding of environmental standard requirements and procedures in urban infrastructural development in East Africa is a major concern considering urbanization is fast growing in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania today, with the construction of …
Disregarding of environmental standard requirements and procedures in urban infrastructural development in East Africa is a major concern considering urbanization is fast growing in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania today, with the construction of major transportation systems and industries, which seem to impact negatively on environment. Environmental concerns are not always considered during the design, planning and construction of infrastructure projects in the region, which has led to significant biodiversity losses, environmental degradation and depletion of some natural resources
Infrastructural development often requires prior Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to minimize adverse impacts on the environment, reduce risks and ensure environmental sustainability.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case as EIA reports often do not provide technical details on the impacts of the infrastructure and project proponents often do not comply with the recommendations given in the EIA reports. Furthermore, there is reluctance in follow-up and enforcement of regulations subject to non-compliance by relevant authorities.
Over the years we have continued to advocate against major infrastructural projects that would have had detrimental effects on biodiversity and ecosystems and instead offer alternative solutions.
Get involved today by joining our campaigns to support eco-friendly initiatives.
Deficient and ineffectual environmental governance, policies and legislation in the East African region is a major problem in conservation. Key to environmental governance is having adequate policies and laws that govern the management and conservation…
Deficient and ineffectual environmental governance, policies and legislation in the East African region is a major problem in conservation. Key to environmental governance is having adequate policies and laws that govern the management and conservation of natural resources and wildlife habitats, and having proper governance structures to enforce those laws and policies.
Weak institutions, uncoordinated implementation of policies between different sectors of the economy, insufficient funding, and limited capacity at all levels have undermined effectiveness and efficiency in developing and sustainably managing natural resources in the region.
Further to this, there is lack of adequate and sound research data to guide effective decision-making, policy interventions and formulation for effective environmental management.
EAWLS has since inception been at the helm of reviewing and developing sound environmental laws and related policies and building capacities of relevant government authorities and institutions for better management of natural resources in East Africa.
Get involved by partnering with us today to endeavor this mission or join us in becoming a member today.
We pride ourself as in the East Africa region.
Support Rangers Putting out Wildfires in Kirisia Forest
Kirisia Community Forest Association (CFA) scouts are combing the forest day and night to keep surveillance for the rampant forest fire incidents.
Donate to Save Kirisia Dryland Forest
With over two consecutive years of ravaging droughts in Kenya, wildfires are increasingly becoming a common phenomenon threatening our forests and wildlife. Since the beginning of 2023, there have been frequent wildfires in most parts of the country, and Kirisia Forest is not spared.
Kirisia Forest Reserve is a gazetted forest located in the arid and semi-arid Samburu County, in the northern parts of Kenya. The forest is in the proximity of Mararal town, which is 340-470 Km from Nairobi. It is managed by the Kenya Forest Service in collaboration with Kirisia Community Forest Association. Covering 91,944 ha, Kirisia is a critical wildlife dispersal route in northern Kenya, rich in biodiversity and provides diverse ecosystem goods to the local community including pasture, water, herbal medicine, honey and fuelwood, among others. During the past two years of drought, the forest has sustained millions of livestock, which is the mainstay for the pastoralists living adjacent to the forest.
The forest, however, faces multiple threats including illegal logging, poaching and deforestation, among others. A 2010 REDD+ assessment study by CAMCO reported that the forest had reduced from the 91,944 ha at the time of gazettement to about 78,000 ha by 2010. With the increasing temperatures, the wild fire are driving further forest loss at an unprecedented levels.
Kirisia Community Forest Association scouts are combing the forest day and night to keep surveillance for the rampant forest fire incidents. The wildfires if not abated in a timely fashion, could reverse the gains made so far in restoring the forest and is likely to drive biodiversity loss and exacerbate the impacts of climate change.
Putting out wildfires have not been without challenges. The scouts lack enough means of transport (vehicle, motorbikes and fuel), communication, camping and firefighting equipment to allow for effective, coordinated and timely response to the fire incidents that are now occurring almost daily.
The donation received will go towards procuring equipment for scouts, food ration, recruiting more scouts and supporting the CFA to conduct community sensitisation missions.
Support the Forest Rehabilitation Programme
The Forest Rehabilitation Programme aims at raising funds for the restoration of at least 600 hectares (equivalent to planting at least 600,000 trees) of the country’s key water towers between the year 2021 and 2030
About the Forest Rehabilitation Programme
Forest Challenge event is held every year and has attracted increasing interest and action among corporates and individuals. The FC event is organised by EAWLS in partnership with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kijabe Forest Volunteers (KENVO) and is vital in creating awareness on importance of conserving forests. The resources raised from the event guarantees continuity of the Forest Rehabilitation Programme.
‘The Forest Rehabilitation Programme aims at raising funds for the restoration of at least 600 hectares (equivalent to planting at least 600,000 trees) of the country’s key water towers between the year 2021 and 2030’.
Direct partnership with individual corporates compliments and ensures the success of the Forest Rehabilitation Programme by contributing funds used exclusively for acquiring and growing the tree seedlings.
The tree planting model of empowering the communities by engaging them directly through the Community Forest Association (CFA) in planting and nurturing trees while allowing them to cultivate crops in the planted areas has ensured appreciation, buy-in and ownership guaranteeing social fences for the rehabilitated sites.
Joint monitoring of the sites by CFAs and KFS ensures timely adaptive actions in the planted sites warrants high survival rates. The rehabilitated sites are handed over to KFS for long term protection from illegal activities such as illegal logging.
Lake Ol Bolossat Project
Involved in drawing a Draft Management Plan for Lake Ol Bolossat with the County Government of Nyandarua.
Strengthening the Management and Protection of Lake Ol Bolossat, Kenya
Lake Ol Bolossat is the only natural lake in Central Kenya and one of the very few highland lakes in the world. It is lcated in in Nyandarua Count and forms part of the larger Ewaso Ngiro North Basin which straddles nine counties in Kenya and supports the livelihoods of approximately four (4) million people from upstream, middle and downstream.
Covering approximately 4303.6 ha, the lake is Kenya’s 61st Important Bird Area and is recognised as a Key Biodiversity Area by BirdLife International.
The lake is also home to around 96 species of invertebrates, 7 species of fish and six other mammalian species besides hippopotamuses. A waterfowl census in Lake Ol Bolossat conducted in January 2018 counted a total of 14, 423 individuals.
Despite the economical, social and ecological importance, the lake is in the verge of drying up threatening the local livelihood, economy and biodiversity. These was attributed to lack of legal protection, poor stakeholders’ coordination, low awareness about the lake and its importance, among others.
This project aimed at elevating the lake’s conservation status to enhance its protection; creating awareness about the importance of the lake; harnessing partnerships and synergies for better management of the lake through co-management.
- The Lake designated as a wetland protected area by the Government of Kenya through a legal notice No. 178 of 2018.
- Rapid Biodiversity Survey conducted and findings disseminated;
- Brochure profiling the lake developed and publicised to raise more awareness about the lake
- Lake Ol Bolossat Integrated Management Plan (2020 – 2030) ratified.
- Lake Ol Bolossat Community Conservation Group (LOCCOG) formed and registered to operate in Kenya. The Group coordinates community-led conservation activities in the lake and its surrounding.
Lake Ol-Bolossat is the only natural Lake in Mt. Kenya and it lies between the Aberdare Ranges and Dundori Ridge.
The lake was gazetted as a Wetland Protected Area in 2015, effectively, title deeds for the land stand dissolved. Lake Ol Bolossat was re-gazetted in 2019 and it is a fully protected Wetland.
For years, the Lake has been a tourist destination center but this is slowly changing as the lake's beauty has been greatly destroyed by illegal herders drawn from neighboring counties of Isiolo Laikipia, Samburu and Baringo.
Speaking to the press, voluntary Environmentalist Wachira Njari alleged that some prominent individuals have grabbed the land making it hard for the lake to rejuvenate.
He added that despite their recent suggestion of the lake being given to KWS, nothing has happened and this has become a major contributing factor to the lake drying up.
Area residents Manasse Muthui and John Maina added that the drastic change has led to the lake drying up and this has greatly affected the beauty of the lake as the wildlife there have disappeared making it to lose its value.
The problem is becoming worse each day since unknown herders from neighboring counties have camped there with their livestock and there is no action taken against them since they're are perceived to be protected by wealthy persons somewhere.
It is their call for the national government together with the county government to address this issue during the upcoming World WetLands Day and to take an immediate action to rescue this lake by fencing to address encroachment and roaming hippos, an all-inclusive management plans, rehabilitation of the catchment areas, and regulation of irrigation projects.
The residents further want the lake to be given back to KWS as it is the only governing body that will protect this great lake
Previous Advocacy Work
Nairobi National Park was gazetted as Kenya’s first National Park in 1946. The Park is situated 10km south of Nairobi City centre and covers an area of 117 Sq. kilometres. The park is fenced on three sides with only one side left open for the free movement of wildlife in and out of the park. It is rich in biodiversity including over 100 mammalian species and over 400 resident and migratory bird species.
Nairobi National Park is listed as an IBA in danger by Birdlife International. Kenya Wildlife Service developed the parks Management plan 2020-2030 to address key threats including infrastructure development. Part of the park had been hived off to pave way for the construction of the Southern Bypass and Standard Gauge Railway. The park is also experiencing high pressure from urbanisation.
EAWLS participated in the development of the park’s management plan and as such, is a key stakeholder in its implementation. EAWLS raised concerns over the infrastructure development and visitor impact in the park through a letter to the Kenya Wildlife Service. According to EAWLS, the various infrastructure projects proposed through various tenders somewhat was a deviation from plan and as such required scrutiny by stakeholders to ensure minimal impacts on the park’s biodiversity.
Bugoma Forest Reserve, situated in western Uganda, is a tropical natural forest that is rich in biodiversity, including endangered chimpanzees. It is also a water catchment for Lake Albert and a migratory corridor for wildlife. It was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 and placed under the management of the National Forestry Authority (NFA). The forest covers a total of 41,144ha.
In August 2016, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development issued a title deed for 5,770ha (about 22 square miles) of Bugoma Forest to the Bunyoro-Kitara tribal kingdom who then leased this portion of the forest to Hoima Sugar Ltd for sugarcane cultivation.
On August 14, 2020, Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) issued a certificate of approval to the Hoima Sugar Limited project.
The NFA severally sued the Bunyoro Kingdom for aiding and abetting the encroachment of Bugoma Forest but lost both cases. The Commissioner of land registration even canceled the title deed issued to the Kingdom in 2016 but the High Court reinstated the document on legal technicalities.
EAWLS joined other civil society organizations in an online campaign dubbed “Save Bugoma Forest”. EAWLS also applied to be enjoined in the Bugoma Court case at the East African Court of Justice as amicus curiae.
NEMA, following its review of Hoima Sugar Ltd’s activities on the ground in September 2022, ordered the company to take the following actions “to safeguard the environment and avoid any further damage to the environment:”
- – Immediately stop any further deforestation of the natural reserved forest area, eco-tourism area, cultural sites, and land reserved for an urban centre.
- – No sugar cane should be planted in the natural reserved forest area, ecotourism area, cultural sites area and land reserved for the urban centre. The sugar cane must be restricted to areas permitted in the certificate.
- – The 312.3ha earlier approved for the urban centre is halted to be kept as a natural forest given the country’s efforts to recover forest cover loss.
- – Restore all degraded areas of the natural reserved forest area, ecotourism area, cultural sites and land reserved for the urban centre.
- – Prepare a restoration plan for the degraded areas in consultation with the Forestry Sector Support Department of the Ministry of Water and Environment (FSSD), National Forestry Authority (NFA) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and submit the same to this Authority for approval within not more than three months from the date of this order.
- – Implement the Restoration Plan at the company’s cost with guidance from FSSD, NFA and UWA to the satisfaction of this Authority.
EAWLS through the Kenya Forest Working Group (KFWG) received a written complaint from Menengai Community Forest Association claiming that the County Government of Nakuru had intentions of issuing titles for the Nakuru Municipality Block 19 to individuals. This block, according to the CFA, is part of the Menengai Forest.
The CFA had written a letter in response to the public notice issued by the County Government of Nakuru calling for submissions from the public, institutions and individuals on block 19.
According to the public notice, the County Government of Nakuru with support from the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning and the National Land Commission (NLC) wanted to authenticate the ownership of this land for purposes of facilitating sustainable management and use of the land.
Owing to the claims by the CFA, EAWLS through KFWG wrote a letter to KFS requesting KFS to move with speed to verify these claims to make sure that any portion of Menengai Forest is not lost during the expected land adjudication process.
As a result, KFS inquired into the matter and confirmed that the said block was part of the Nakuru Municipality forest which is a government forest under the management of the Service. The agency wrote to the County Government of Nakuru and all other relevant stakeholders informing them that this is part of a gazetted forest and should not be excised whatsoever.
The President of the Republic of Kenya 2016 assented to the Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016 repealing the Forest Act of 2005. This was to align it to Article 69 of the Constitution of Kenya (CoK) and provide a framework for the development and sustainable management, including conservation and rational utilization of forest resources for the socio-economic development of the country and connected purposes.
Kenya’s Forest law stipulates that any proposed public forest boundary alteration shall only be considered by the Parliament upon the technical recommendation of the Kenya Forest Service, a state expert agency charged with the mandate of conserving and managing public forests. These provisions were approved into law in response to the massive destruction of forests in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In November 2021, a Committee of the National Assembly introduced a legal proposal seeking to abdicate KFS’ power to regulate variation of public forest boundaries. The Bill went through the 1st reading on 7th February 2022 and marked to the relevant committee.
This Bill if passed would weaken the forest laws and put to risk the millions of hectares of Kenya’s public forests.
The 12th Parliament adjourned sine die on the 9th June 2022 before the Bill was passed into law. By the statutory laws of the Kenyan Parliament, the Forest Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill 2021 has died off with the 12th parliament.
- – Increased public awareness and support for the campaign against the Forest Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill 2021. Approximately 3,000 people/institutions signed the petition citing clear reasons for signing against the Bill; the Bill trended as number 6 on tweeter in Kenya on the International Day of Forests (IDF) under the hashtags #ForestBill2021 #StopWeakeningOurForestAct; tweet chats potentially reached 977,125.
- – The Bill stagnated at 1st reading. Ideally, once a Bill is read for the first time in the house and forwarded to the relevant committee, the Committee should conduct public participation and submit a report to the house within 14 days. The laxity of the Procedure and House Rules Committee was a testament that the interest and hype to push the Bill through got eroded. This was also demonstrated by the fact that a majority of politicians began to distance themselves from any land grabbing issue.
Enhanced capacity (skills and knowledge) of stakeholders/ coalition members on parliamentary processes and appropriate advocacy tools. This was demonstrated by the number of coalition members actively participating in the campaign.
Satima escarpment is within the Muruai and Kirima Forest Reserves in Nyandarua County, both of which are gazetted forests managed by Kenya Forest Service. The escarpment forms important catchment for the endangered Lake Ol Bolossat Key Biodiversity Area.
In 2020, EAWLS received and confirmed claims that 100 acres of Satima escarpment had been grabbed and fenced off by an individual.
EAWLS initiated an online petition calling for the Kenya Forest Service to move with speed and stop the grabbing of this important catchment area. The petition attracted attention of the Kenyan Government and other key stakeholders.
Outcome: KFS Officers together with the local community brought down the fences. The matter is in court.
According to the Constitution of Kenya 2010 schedule 2, 21 forestry functions were devolved to the county governments. This called for Kenya Forest Service and the County Governments to sign Transition Implementation Plans (TIPs), which a framework for transfer of functions.
In order to fully uptake the devolved functions, Counties are required to implement the national policies on forest conservation. As such, there was need for them to formulate policy and institutional framework.
EAWLS supported the process of formulating the Bomet Forest Conservation and Management Bill 2020, which is at the County Assembly awaiting enactment.