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We oppose and reject The Forest Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 53 of 2021)

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry has initiated a comprehensive review of the Forest Conservation and Management Policy and law to comply with the Constitution 2010. While that process is ongoing, we are concerned that the proposed amendments intend to do away with expert involvement of Kenya Forestry Services (KFS) in recommending to Parliament on conformance of petitions with provisions of the same Act when it appertains to altering or excising public forest land, thereby greatly weakening governance and protection of public forest land.

Historically, it is estimated that Kenya lost over 420 million hectares of forest, equivalent to 6.5% of its forest cover due to forest excision and other land uses prior to enactment of Section 34 of the Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016 which has protected forest from further excision since coming into being, thereby increasing the Kenya forest cover.

For the record, Section 34(2A) was carefully crafted in response to arbitrary excisions that led to the wanton destruction of public forest in the late 1990s and early 2000.

The proposed amendments are being made with a measure of bias and self-interest that will weaken the governance of public forests.

Hon Keriako Tobiko, Cabinet Secretary Environment and Forestry has written to the National Assembly to reject The Forest Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 53 of 2021), that tells you its not a bill that will be beneficial to kenyans if the Minister in charge of environment and forestry is against it.

Conservation Organizations should engage the relevant Ministries, Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Land Commission to amicably find solutions to resolve land issues or forests that have been encroached and regularized within the current law.

The National Assembly should suspend the debate on the Forest Conservation and Management (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 53 of 2021) to allow Ministry of Environment and Energy and Kenya Forestry Services continue their good work to protect forest land and recover what has been lost to unscrupulous persons and/or entities

 

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) should audit forest land and acreage, including recommendations on all encroached public forests and submit the report to the National Assembly.

Investigate and make recommendations and take appropriate actions on the Kenya Forest Service report findings with a view to resolve historical unresolved forest land issues.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Kenya Forest Service and the County Government should stop further encroachment of public forest land.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Kenya Forest Service should speed up the comprehensive review of the Forest Conservation and Management policy and law to enhance the governance and protection of all forest lands in Kenya (shielding public forests from land grabbers).

The National Assembly allows the Cabinet Secretary Environment and Forestry to complete the ongoing review of the Forest Conservation and Management policy and law.

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