Conservationists say NO to the Wildlife Bill and Policy – need more time


Dear Friends

Like most Kenyans, those of us who have been reviewing the Wildlife Bill and Policy, we fell that it will be a huge mistake if these two pieces of legislation are rushed.

This press release highlights what 17 conservationists representing land owners, communities and NGO’s are concerned about.Two representatives of the Nairobi Park Ecosystem participated in drafting the letter to the Ministry,

We hope that the Kenyan Government will take these issues seriously and allow for more time in completing the drafting of these important laws.

6th September 2011,

CONSERVATIONISTS, LAND OWNERS AND COMMUNITIES SAY “NO” TO WILDLIFE MINISTER ON RUSHED PROCESS FOR NEW WILDLIFE POLICY AND BILL

More time is needed in finalizing the wildlife policy and bill to allow for legitimate stakeholder consultation and harmonization of Forestry Act and EMCA which are under review.

Conservationists, land owners and communities have sent a letter to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife objecting to a Ministry deadline to submit comments on the Wildlife Policy and Bill by the September 5th. Seventeen individuals including two former Directors of the KWS, Dr Richard Leakey and Michael Wamithi, have objected to the process which they have said lacks transparency and legitimate stakeholder consultation. They have said that they will not legitimize the process by sending in comments and have written to ask the PS for Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Mohammed Wa-Mwachai for more time to ensure that Wildlife Policy and Bill are progressive and address the broad principles in the new Constitution, namely environmental sustainability and devolved environmental governance.

On August 29th the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife held a stakeholders conference at the Intercontinental Hotel to hear stakeholders comments on the draft Wildlife Policy and Wildlife Bill, a meeting that many described as a rubber stamping exercise. Many participants had not digested the documents or consulted stakeholders because they were given less than one week to review and comment on these two key pieces of new legislation that will impact on tens of millions of Kenyans who are affected by wildlife which includes animals, plants, fish and even insects. It is just not enough time to get reasonable comments from all corners of the country.

The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) should delay completion of the process and demand that adequate time is provided for legitimate stakeholder participation and input as well as harmonization with the Forestry Act and Environmental Management and Conservation Acts which are under review.

“The draft bill is full of inconsistencies and errors that make it unworkable. We can’t afford to rush this process or we will get it wrong and risk losing Kenya’s most important assets, our spectacular wildlife treasures and the tourism industry that depends on it. Who will take responsibility for that?” asked Dr. Paula Kahumbu (Kenya Land Conservation Trust), on behalf of the group.

Others who signed onto the letter include Allan Earnshaw (Trustee of the Kenya Wildlife Trust), James Isiche (Regional Director International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)), Michael Mbithi (Land owner Lisa Ranch), Dr. Melita Semoilys (Coastal Oceans Research Development – Indian Ocean CORDIO), Nickson Parmisa (Kitengela Ilparakuo Land Owners Association (KILA)), David Sorimpan (Manager Olerai Conservancy Kipeto), Stephen Itela (Executive Director Youth for Conservaiton), Onesmas Kahindi (Executive Director Ecotourism Kenya), Judy Kepher-Gona (CEO and Programs Director, Basecamp Foundation), Dickson Kaelo (Naboisho Conservancy), Paul Matiku (Executive Director, Nature Kenya), Ambrose Njagih (Nakuru Wildlife Conservancy), and Hadley Becha (Executive Director, Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCO)).

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