Strategic Goal E:Target 18: By 2020, the TK, innovations and practices are respected

Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.

Target 18: By 2020, the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and their customary use of biological resources, are respected, subject to national legislation and relevant international obligations, and fully integrated and reflected in the implementation of the Convention with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, at all relevant levels.


The Constitution of Kenya 2010, in Article 11 on culture, states that: “This Constitution recognizes culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenyan people and nation.

The State shall—

  • promote all forms of national and cultural expression through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information, mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage,
  • recognize the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation; and
  • promote the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya

In response, the Traditional knowledge and Traditional Cultural expression Act of 2016 was enacted. Under the Act, Kenya’s 47 counties are also charged with protection of traditional knowledge from misuse and misappropriation, among other roles. These include county governments working with the national government to establish mechanisms to prevent misappropriation, misuse or unlawful access and exploitation of traditional knowledge and cultural expression without prior consent. The Act also states that county governments are supposed to work with institutions such as KIPI, the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) in establishment and maintenance of a national repository for genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. The Ministry of Culture has established a task force to develop the roadmap for the implementation of the Act.

Before statutory intervention in 2016, Kenya had a National Policy on Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions (“the Policy”) in 2009 which was in various aspects the forerunner to the statutory law to be discussed shortly. The Policy was aimed at laying the ground for a national framework that recognizes, preserves, protects and promotes sustainable use of traditional knowledge as well as the mainstreaming of traditional knowledge systems in view of national development targets.

The Kenya Wildlife Service is working with communities and farmers in conservation and protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge to ensure their sustainable utilization and proper benefit-sharing schemes especially where their commercial exploitation is involved.

[1] Kenya Constitution 2010.

[2] The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act 2016.

[3] Kenya Works With Communities On Genetic Resources And Traditional Knowledge Protection – Busia County Biodiversity Policy – Article by Justus Wanzala for the Intellectual Property Watch. 2017.

Other relevant policy and legal frameworks include the:

The Community Land Act, WCMA 2013 recognition of conservancies. EMCA 2015-Access to bio-resources

Kenya’s access and benefit sharing toolkit for genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge-2014