Strategic Goal D:Target 14:By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services are restored and safeguarded

Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services

Target 14: By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.


In Kenya, a key approach to ecosystem management is through the concept of basins-based planning practiced since early 1970s through establishment of Regional Development Authorities (RDAs). These  RDAs are constituted based on river basins and large water bodies to spur regional development through sustainable utilization and conservation of natural resources. The six Regional Development Authorities (RDAs), are; Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA[1]), Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA[2]), Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA[3]), Ewaso Ng’iro South Development Authority (ENSDA[4]), Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority (ENNDA[5]) and Coast Development Authority (CDA[6]). .[7]

The Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) is mandated to coordinate and oversee the protection, rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of all the critical water towers in Kenya.[1] The rehabilitation and protection of Kenya’s five (5) major water towers namely; the Aberdares, Cherangany, Mau, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elgon and other smaller significant Water Towers and catchment areas such as Chyulu Hills, Nyambene, Ngong Hills, Taita Hills, Maragoli, Marsabit, Shimba Hills, Ndotos, Nyiru, Hills in Machakos, Makueni and Kitui, Leroghi, Matthews Range and Dunes in Lamu and Northern Kenya has been undertaken in this period.

Many government MDAs and civil society have supported ecosystem-based approaches to secure ecosystem services and support livelihoods.   For example: Nature Kenya[1] – Nature Kenya has championed the use of the Toolkit for Ecosystem Services Site-based Assessment in Kenya, which gives guidance in measuring ecosystem services provided by a habitat. So far Ecosystem Services Assessment has been carried out in Kakamega Forest, Yala wetland complex, Taita Hills forests, Dakatcha Woodland and Arabuko Sokoke Forest IBAs.

Forest Conservation and Management Act 2016  outlines public participation and community involvement in the management of forests through Community Forest Association  and recognising establishment of community forests. The Wildlife Management and Conservation Act of 2013 established conservancies, sanctuaries community, and wildlife association and wildlife managers. The act developed County Conservation Committee whose role included compensation scheme which seek to compensate communities against loss of life, disabilities and destruction of property occasioned by human-wildlife conflicts.

Water Act 2016 provides for establishment of Water Resource User Associations (WRUAs), which are community-based associations for collective management of water resources and resolution of conflicts concerning the use of water resource.

 Community Land Act, 2016 Act provides for the recognition and registration of community land rights, management and administration of community land, and the role of county government in relation to unregistered community land.

Trans boundary Waters: The programme entailed negotiations on mutual utilization and conservation of trans-boundary waters.  The locations of trans-boundary surface waters and their status were established while three bilateral frameworks developed, negotiated and finalized for the management of transboundary water resources. These are Sio-Malaba-Malakisi River, Mara River and lakes Challa-Jibe and Umba River. Other regional processes include the 2010 Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA.  The main water towers that are the source of the rivers that feed into Lake Victoria are in Kenya and East Africa Community Protocol for the Sustainable Development of Lake Victoria Basin. The Protocol provides a framework for cooperation among the Partner States in the conservation and sustainable utilization of the resources in the Lake Victoria Basin