EAWLS has implemented various projects including; research to generate new information and knowledge, advocacy to improve policy, partnerships development to strengthen stakeholder relations, capacity building and awareness creation to improve wise-use practices for wetlands. EAWLS in partnership with KWF members recognizes that there is an information sharing gap within society about the value of wetlands and its threats. Thus, we use comprehensive knowledge management approach to create awareness on the wise use of wetland resources. Through these approaches, the EAWLS with KWF members has accomplished numerous initiatives
In the last few years, we have achieved a lot towards promoting wise use of wetlands in Kenya. The following is a summary our achievements;
- Provision of technical support in the development and implementation of site specific management plans for Dunga Swamp, Lakes Ol Bolossat, Jipe and Naivasha.
- Facilitating the development of national and local wetland conservation strategies and action plans for wetlands including, Dunga Swamp and Lake Naivasha.
- Supporting the development of the National Wetlands Policy 2013.
- Contributing in the development of the Kenya Wetlands Atlas 2012.
- Since 2005, we have continued to provide input in the production of State of the Environment Reports for Kenya.
- Successfully advocated for the gazettement of the Environmental Management and Coordination (wetlands, river banks, lake shores and seashore management) regulations, 2009.
- The forum played a significant role in the designation of Tana Delta as a Ramsar site in 2012.
- The forum successfully advocated for the development of a comprehensive land use plan for the Tana Delta.
In 2013, we collaborated with relevant government institutions to review the draft Wetlands Conservation and Management Policy to ensure that the plan of action reflected the agreed upon formulation process. We have supported the legislative processes and the enhancing of livelihoods for sustainable conservation, management and wise use of Tana River Delta wetlands which came to a close in April 2014. Its purpose was to fast track the process of formulating the draft National Wetlands Conservation and Management policy to ensure its progress.
The second phase of the project focused on education and awareness on the pieces of legislation that has a bearing on wetland ecosystems. We partnered with Kenya Wildlife Conservation Forum (KWCF) in a joined effort to plan and carry out sensitization meetings with Tana River County community members. These sensitization meetings represented different groups to take them through these pieces of legislation. The partnership was also to enhance the communities understanding on the diverse issues tackled within the legislation and the roles they play within communities during implementation.
EAWLS is currently focusing particularly on fragile wetland among them Lake Ol’ Bolossat. This lake is the source of Ewaso Ngiro River and Thomson’s fall. The lake offers a variety of habitats ranging from open water through ﬂoating marsh and swamps, open grasslands and riverine forests and springs that feed the lake and thus harbours several families of hippopotamus, and a temporary sanctuary for thousands of migrating birds. It has been recognized as a wetland that holds some of the threatened water bird species and has been accepted as the 61st Important Bird Area (IBA) for Kenya.
Our interventions includes among other things;
- Building the capacity of various stakeholders including the local community to ensure their inputs in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes and environmental audits for the projects within and around the lake.
- Building the capacity of the quarry merchants to implement environmental safeguards within the site to minimize siltation of the lake.
- Building rapport (strategic partnerships) among the civil societies, government and the local communities; key ingredient to the protection and management of the lake and its catchment; a joint monitoring committee was formed.
- Enhancing awareness about the importance of the lake and the imminent threats facing it as a result of development.
- Lobbying for the formal protection status of the lake through media campaign and incorporation of the workshop resolutions into the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).
- Lobbying for the gazettment of the lake
The findings will inform policy formulation aimed at conserving the lake.
In advocating for policy review, the EAWLS is in the frontline in reviewing various government regulations relating to wetlands; for instance we have already submitted comments to National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on the draft EMC (Conservation and Management of Wetlands) Amendment Regulations, 2017.