Policy Influencing and Advocacy
EAWLS takes a lead role in facilitating and contributing to the formulation and implementation of policies and laws in the land, natural resource conservation and management sector that lead to the safeguarding of biodiversity and ecosystems as well as enhanced socio-economic outcomes for all people in East Africa.
EAWLS has the ability to anticipate and successfully respond to critical conservation issues as they occur, taking the lead whenever appropriate. We have successfully halted major infrastructural development that had major environmental impacts as well as those that have not followed the due process of the law.
We are currently engaged with the following advocacy campaigns and actions:
Offshore Sand Dredging in Kenya’s South Coast
There is ongoing sand dredging between 0.5 and 1km offshore of Kenya’s South Coast from Likoni through Waa to Tiwi that is to provide sand for the reclamation work of the Standard Gauge Railway’s (SGR) main Railway Container Terminal and Marshaling Yard at Port Reitz. This activity is in danger of destroying reefs, fishing areas, fish breeding grounds, sea grasses and sea turtle breeding areas and subsequently turning one of Kenya’s famed beautiful beaches into rocky fields.
EAWLS is working closely with the communities living in this area led by the South Coast Resident’s Association (SCRA) in conjunction with Kwale County Natural Resources Network (KCNRN) to ensure that the dredging is permanently stopped until such a time when a full Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study is done to the satisfaction of all stakeholders and the general public in the Coastal region. Furthermore, we are pushing for this dredging to follow the international standards for sea sand harvesting which is between 5 to 10 kilometers from the shoreline.
The Southern Bypass and the Nairobi National Park
The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) is constructing bypasses to ease Nairobi’s incessant traffic. In 2012, there was an attempt by KeNHA to encroach into the Nairobi National Park and the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) and key partners went to court on this matter and won the case.
Earlier this year, KeNHA requested an alignment that will encroach into Nairobi National Park again. This new alignment is required to satisfy the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) requirement of having 500 metres clear ground from the end of the runway at Wilson Airport. EAWLS awaits KCAA confirmation of the 500 metre requirement, and until then we will continue pushing for the alignment curve to be reduced accordingly and the original route followed.
The Drying of Umani Springs and the Umani Mtito Andei Water Supply Project
The Umani Mtito Andei water supply project implemented by Kenya’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation in Makueni County is contributing to the receding of ground water levels which will lead to the drying of Umani springs and the demise of the ground-water dependent Kibwezi Forest ecosystem.
Despite the clear damage of the ecosystem by water over-abstraction, the use of erroneous data and the breach of various legal stipulations, EAWLS went to court to halt this project and further conducted an independent hydrological survey. The matter is still in court.
The Standard Gauge Railway and the Nairobi National Park
The Government of Kenya (The Kenya Railways Corporation) is constructing a modern, high-capacity Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) for both freight and passengers, a realignment of 11.6Km of which 8.85Km will be within the Nairobi National Park (NNP) has recently been approved by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on condition that the railway line does not to annex any land as had earlier been proposed but provide an easement. EAWLS is closely monitoring this construction to ensure that no parties breach the agreement that was signed for the easement.