Policy review on sustainbale use and management of wetlands in Kenya: a case study of the Kimana wetland, Kajiado county, Kenya
Wetland ecosystems are areas seasonally or permanently covered in shallow water, and land where the water table is close to the surface. They provide functions such as flood control, provision of food and act as carbon sinks. The general perception has been that these areas are wastelands that should be avoided or eliminated. Kimana wetland located in Oloitoktok District of Kajiado County faces threats from activities such as agriculture, drainage due to massive water abstractions, deforestation, and pollution from oil spills from the fuel pumps amongst other threats. This is attributed to variance in the legal, institutional and policy frameworks applicable there amongst other reasons. This study sought to understand how these variances affect Kimana. Further it looked at the use, social-cultural importance and the various social changes within the area. Primary data was collected using key informant interviews, household questionnaires, and field observations. Secondary data was collected from different sources including journals, policy documents, and research articles. The primary data was coded and analysed. Themes were also extracted. Thereafter the results displayed using frequency tables, charts, and graphs. The results were that the lack of clear policies, legal and institutional frameworks at play within the area contributed to the destruction, drainage and pollution of the wetland. Further that the fragmented sectoral policy, legal and institutional frameworks and the over dependence of the community and stakeholders on the wetland leads to unsustainable use and management. The study concluded that there was need to sensitize and train community members on sustainable management practices; encourage community participation in the sustainable management of the wetland; seek the establishment of a national institutional framework. Establishment of National Wetlands Steering Committee for coordinating sustainable use and management of the wetland at national, county and community levels; and the advancement of stakeholder governance to enable implementation of these frameworks both at of the National and County levels. The study espouses the need for a National Wetlands Policy, and for inter-linkages between the wetlands sector stakeholders.
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