Strategies to Unlock Business Potential of Biodiversity Wealth

Source :KWS Website
First published October 18, 2019

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Senior management held a two-day retreat in Mombasa to lay strategies of optimizing benefits from the country’s bioeconomy by unlocking the biodiversity business potential through innovative ways for creation of appropriate enablers and incentives that contribute to ease of doing business.

The senior management discussed gains made by the country and KWS in meeting its obligation on access and share of benefits arising from utilization of biodiversity, efforts on ease of doing business by permitting integration, innovative mechanisms for management, protection and conservation of the country’s wildlife heritage.

The meeting was supported by the Global Environmental Facility -Nagoya Implementation Fund (GEF-NPIF)) under the Soda lakes project. The Soda lakes project is ‘Developing the microbial Biotechnology Industry from Kenya’s soda lakes in line with the Nagoya Protocol’ and is among the 13 globally funded projects under the GEF – Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF). The NPIF fund was proposed by Japan presidency for COP 10 after adoption of Nagoya protocol to promote early entry into force and provide practical examples for its implementation. Kenya won the grant through Kenya wildlife service and other beneficiary countries include Argentina, Bhutan, Cameroon, Cook Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, Gabon, Kenya and Panama.

The Soda lakes project is a model project for implementation of Nagoya protocol and it is in the final stage of completion. Key achievements ranging from contribution to legal, policy and instructional arrangements have been realized under the project including showcasing the country’s rich biological resources during the Conference of Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Nagoya Protocol to which Kenya is party.

For the last three years over 300 people ranging from local communities, resource providers and users have been sensitized on the country’s commitment and obligations under Nagoya Protocol. Kenya ratified Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in 2014. Nagoya Protocol currently remains one of the key international instruments for biodiversity business transaction in terms of bio trade and gene trade which are key elements for green and blue economy (marine genetic resources). The business is done under recognition of national sovereignty and contracts referred to as prior informed Consent and mutually agreed Terms.

Kenya’s wildlife in addition to tourism contributes significantly to both global and national economy. Kenya’s rich unique genetic resources from varied ecosystem is feed stock to various sectors such as Agriculture, food industries including flavours, cosmetics, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries .Some notable examples include the global detergents from enzymes derived from Kenya’s soda lakes, the biocontrols, the famous bacillus strain initially collected from Ruma area, which is now a global product used for genetic modification like in genetically modified maize among many others. Currently large quantise of Kenya‘s wildlife biological resources have been accessed and held in foreign ex-situ collections. These genetic resources are being exploited without sharing the benefits with the country.

The key reasons why the country does not get a fair share of benefits from her resources include resource misappropriation due to inadequate legal frameworks. This leads to ineffective compliance and enforcement while at the same time acting as an incentive and attracting investment in research and development which contribute to biodiversity conservation and livelihoods. Kenya wildlife Service is the competent government authority on wildlife matters under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013.

Under the Wildlife Act, the Service manages, coordinates and advises the government on all matters of wildlife. At the same time, it grants various user rights in forms of permits and licences including grant of Prior Informed Consent and Mutually Agreed terms on access and share of benefits arising from utilization of genetic resources and associated genetic resources. For the last seven years Kenya wildlife service has granted over 500 research permits for various projects where various benefits to the country in form of monetary and non-monetary have been realized.

In order to maximize benefits in this subsector there is need for strategic positioning in line with emerging issues at global and national level. There are current serious global debates on whether digital sequences derived from genetic resources qualifies for benefit sharing. Kenya and other developing and mega biodiversity minded countries position is that digital sequence is within the scope of Nagoya protocol and therefore its access and utilization deserve a share of benefits with the country of origin.

KWS and stakeholders are undertaking various initiatives which include the wildlife Strategy 2030 that recommends development of a substantive access and benefit sharing framework, reviewing the wildlife Act 2013, development of appropriate regulatory and institutional frameworks including infrastructure, skills and recruitments. Together with stakeholders, the Endowment Fund under the wildlife Act 2013 has been amended to National Conservation Trust fund, to consolidate all benefits derived from wildlife and direct them appropriately to biodiversity conservation and livelihoods support.

In line with the presidential directive on E-commerce, the Service has initiated internal integration of its licencing and permitting process digitizing the process and also together with key partner institutions such as National Management Authority (NEMA), National Council for Science Technology and Innovation, Kenya Forestry Service , Kenya Plant and phytosanitary Services and Department of Veterinary Services In addition to this, a national integrated online permitting system for grant of ABS permits on genetic resources and associated knowledge is being developed. On completion, the system will contribute to reduced wildlife crimes arising from misappropriation of genetic resources, enhance coordination, increasing transparency, and therefore increase Research and Development applications. This will lead to increased traceability and monitoring on utilization of genetic resources which at the end optimize benefits and contribute to the national development goals as well as to biodiversity conservation and rural livelihoods.

The key partners for Soda lakes project include UNEP, University of Nairobi, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute, Jomo Kenyatta University for Agriculture and Technology, Moi University, Rivatex, Counties and local communities within the Kenyan Soda Lakes. Together with NEMA, KWS is implementing the ABS activities under UNDP global ABS project and the GIZ ABS initiatives.

Tour of Michuki Park to assess it’s status

NEMA Ag. Director General Mamo B. Mamo today accompanied Environment  CS Keriako Tobiko in a tour of Michuki Park to assess it’s status. During the visit, it was agreed that the ministry will coordinate the process of surveying and gazettement of the park as a forest.

NEMA will support in installation of waste bins and disposal in the Park as well as map and halt all pollution points into Nairobi River. The Authority will also work with Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Forest Research Institute and to bring onboard private sectors to support in rehabilitation of the Park.

Wetlands digital contest winners awarded

NEMA officers with the wetlands digital contest winners after receiving their awards [PHOTO: L.

By Carole Muriuki

Under the Ramsar convention on conservation and wise use of wetlands, creating public awareness
and public competition is a key objective. During this year’s WWD commemorations, the wetlands digital innovations contest was one of the buildup activities under the theme Wetlands and Biodiversity.
The contest was aimed at creating awareness through art and provide an opportunity for participation of people who may not be able to attend the national event. The online competition attracted 30 entrants.
The best 3 were recognized through an award ceremony which took place on 20th February at NEMA Hq in line with NEMA’s strategic objective of public participation through recognition and appreciation of innovation and best practices.
During the awards ceremony, NEMA Director General. Mamo B. Mamo was represented by Deputy Director human resource Madam Esther Chege, while Wetlands International was represented by the Director, Ms. Julie Mulonga.
In her remarks, Madam Esther thanked wetlands International for sponsoring the event and for the partnership in moving the environment agenda countrywide. She added that environment matters have a wide scope and therefore NEMA requires more partners. Ms. Julie congratulated the
winners of the contests and encouraged them to continue conveying the message on wetlands protection to others. The three finalists were: Alvin Mwangi-, Mureithi Mbaabu and Hiram Kariuki.

Nurturing partnership with the media

NEMA Staff with the journalists during the training at Burch Resort, Naivasha [PHOTO: A. NGUSU/

By Albert Ngusu & Adrian Yegon

Kenya has been faced by myriad of environmental challenges; from climate change, waste management, plastic bags menace, illegal industrial effluent discharge and pollution of rivers and general environment.
Whereas some of these challenges are being handled, Kenya is still grappling with most of these problems. Therefore, there is need to create more synergy in educating the public on the importance of taking care of the environment as one’s responsibility. Media are critical partners in creating awareness on environmental matters in the country. Towards this, NEMA undertook a media workshop on environmental coverage in the country from 20th to 21st February 2020 at the Burch Resort in Naivasha

The training aimed at nurturing partnership with the media for effective coverage of environmental issues in the country.
The workshop also provided a platform for the journalists to raise some issues that they felt were still ignored or not acted upon by Nema and maybe come up with solutions or half-solved.
During the workshop, it was agreed media should not only publish negative stories about the environment but should also endeavor to inculcate good values to Kenyans.
The media will help in covering stories on the environment and be of great assistance in combating environmental crimes and prosecution of those responsible for violating the Environment Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA). Moreover, most of the public are not aware of
some devolved environmental functions and those still under Nema especially noise pollution and waste management. To create a better understanding, there were various presentations on NEMA Mandate and functions ranging from compliance and enforcement, coastal marine and fresh waters, legal services, field operations and State of Environment Reports. The media will also help the
Authority to enhance its image through positive coverage of its activities throughout the country.

NEMA joins in a Clean-up of Rongai town held

NEMA Ag. Director General, Mamo B. Mamo leading a cleanup exercise in Rongai town

By Leonard Mutai

Ongata Rongai residents turn up in large numbers in a clean-up exercise to sensitize the community and create awareness on clean environment and solid waste management. The clean-up exercise which was sponsored by the county government managed to clean up various streets, open trenches and collecting scattered garbage in the centre. Kajiado county governor Joseph Ole Lenku led the teams from various government institutions, private sector and community based groups in a one day
The governor said that the county has set every last Saturday of the month as the clean up day. The exercise is done in rotational manner till every town is up to standard in cleanliness. He also ensure the residents that there will be timely collection of garbage and the resources will be provided by the county.
He was accompanied by the Acting NEMA Director General Mamo B Mamo, Kajiado CEC Environment
and Sanitation, James Sankale , Kajiado County NEMA director, Kapejo among other stakeholders.
The governor said waste management has become a challenge in the cosmopolitan region of Ongata
Rongai, Kiserian and Ngong, adding that more cleanup exercises will be held in those towns.

He urged residents to ensure the town is clean as it is their habitat and also hosts many people working in the Kenyas’ capital. He directed all the structure build on top of trenches to be demolished to allow the cleaners to remove the waste that may cause the blockage on drainage system.
Mamo B Mamo said NEMA as national environmental watchdog will fully support and partner with the county to ensure a clean environment. He noted that the some environmental activities devolve but NEMA shall not relent efforts of enforcing the law. He added that the strategy in collaboration with county governments is to make Rongai and other towns in the county clean by making awareness to community members on how to dump garbage.
On course of cleaning exercise, Mamo visited several flats and found that some discharge raw sewage to the sewer lines which is contrary to the law. To enforce the law the NEMA Director Kajiado was directed to follow up the issue and all the players to be arrested. He reiterated that the war on banned plastics is on course and the user will face severe actions. NEMA recently arrested over 10 people found using banned plastics. Kenya’s plastic bag ban came into effect in 2017 and has some harsh penalties.

20,000 Thousand Tree Planting Expedition


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