REDD in Kenya
In Kenya, the coordination of environmental and climate change policies at the highest level is the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (MEMR). The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife is responsible for the coordination of forest conservation and management (KFS, 2011). The National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) outlines country wide coordination efforts to holistically address climate change challenges.
The National REDD+ Management will have a four tier, bottom-up decision making process and is proposed to consist of a National REDD+ Steering Committee (RSC), the REDD+ Technical Working Group (TWG) and the National REDD+ Coordination Office (NRCO). The NRCO will coordinate with the REDD+ Component Task Forces and the REDD+ Officer of each Local Forest Conservancy (KFS, 2010). Both the Task forces and the REDD+ officers will report to the NRCO, which will collate results and strategies and forward proposals to the TWG for evaluation. The TWG will then advise the multi-sectoral and inter-ministerial RSC, where final decisions will be taken (KFS, 2010).
Stakeholder engagement and participation
In Kenya, members of the REDD+ Steering Committee and Thematic Working Groups are extensively involved in providing expertise and implementing awareness activities in the country. Public participation in natural resources policy and legislative processes has been widely accepted in Kenya since the preparation of the National Environment Action Plan in 1994. The development of both the Forests Act (2005) and the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) involved wide stakeholder engagement and consultation. The Forests Act (2005) contains provisions on public consultations on matters relating to ownership and management of forests.
The stakeholder engagement on REDD+ took place during workshops of the REDD+ Consultative Group of the NCCRS and during the Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) formulation in 2008 (KFS, 2010b). During the formulation phase of the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) a Consultation and Participation Plan (C&P I Plan) was implemented. The C&P II Plan describes that ongoing consultations, information sharing and awareness raising on REDD+ strategy, legislative and institutional proposals, and consultations related to demonstration activities will take place (KFS, 2010b). The C&P Plan II involves an online information clearinghouse managed by the National REDD+ Coordination Office, membership to the National Alliance of Community Forest Associations (NACOFA) and participation in the REDD+ Component Taskforces, (KFS, 2010b).
Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights
39% of forests are publicly owned and 61% of forests are under private ownership, inclusive of individual, business and local community ownership, in Kenya (FAO, 2010). There is a National Land Policy in the country that seeks to among others address the critical issues of tenure, land administration, access to land, land use planning and the restitution of historical injustices associated with land ownership. In Kenya, land ownership also means having ownership rights over the trees of the land (FAO, 2010). There is currently no framework for allocating carbon rights, although in some cases, the Kenyan Forest Service (KFS) offloaded all carbon rights to communities who have invested in management and conservation of specific forest blocks with climate change mitigation as an added benefit (KFS, 2010).
The Kenya Forest Reserve owns and manages all State Forest Reserves on behalf of the State, and regulates other types of public and private forests (KFS, 2010). In some sacred and cultural forests like the Kayas, the Ramogi and the Loita forests, communities do have rights over the use of forests (Mogoi, 2012). The process of decentralisation of forest governance to communities has been established through formally agreed management plans, and the initiation of Community Forest Assocations (Mogoi, et al., 2012). A study from 2012, however, noted that the decentralisation process is still in its early stages and there are few management plans approved. In the absence of these plans, the communities have use rights limited to non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and dead wood (Mogoi, et al., 2012).
It has been recognised by various institutions, that Kenyan forest governance has previously been hindered by inadequate structural and institutional capacities, poor participation by stakeholders and weak forest policies (KFS, 2007). However, with the introduction of the Forests Act (2005) and the establishment of the KFS (2007), new incentive and enforcement policies are gradually improving forest governance and law enforcement. The Forests Act in particular defines the forest law enforcement, for offences such as timber felling and livestock grazing. The Forests Act is currently reviewed to be aligned with the Constitution. The Kenya Forest Service, through its Enforcement and Compliance Division has Forests Guards, whom are tasked with patrolling and surveying the forest (Government of Kenya, 2005). Kenya has signed up to various regional agreements, most notably the East African Protocol on Environment and Natural Resource Management (2006) and the East African Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (EA-FLEG) framework (2003) (KFS, 2010).
Kenya has not developed any reference levels, however has begun to embark on the process recently. In conjunction with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) programme as part of the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) process, Kenya is planning to develop a historically adjusted reference level (RL), in order to quantify historical carbon emissions and develop different development scenarios and future emissions/removals trajectories (KFS, 2010a). Reference levels will be coordinated alongside the development of the national Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system as defined by the R-PP process. Progress has been made on identifying institutional capacity requirements, reference systems and standards to be used, forest and land use maps and satellite imagery (Gichu, 2012).
The process of developing a national Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system is discussed within Component 4a of Kenya’s REDD Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP). This system will have MRV capability with monitoring and reporting occurring at sub-national and local scales. Deforestation and degradation will be monitored using a combination of remote sensing and ground based capabilities (KFS, 2010a). Community participation will be used for ground-truthing and where remote sensing techniques are not cost effective (KFS, 2010a). Data gathering and sharing at the local level is also likely to be shared via mobile communication networks (KFS, 2010a). The R-PP also outlines a monitoring system for social, environmental and other impacts of REDD+ implementation (Component 4b) and a Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (Component 6).
According to Silvestrum (2012) Kenya has an advanced ranking in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory completeness, yet has limited technical and forest monitoring capacities. To this end, national level activities are in place to build capacity, such as the development of the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS), (Africa Geospatial Forum, 2011) and forest mapping and forest resource assessment capacity building under the Forest Preservation Programme, which is supported by the Japanese Government.
Social and Environmental Safeguards Assessment (SESA) are being developed as part of Kenya’s REDD Readiness Proposal (R-PP) Implementation Phase. The SESA is intended to be a participatory and closely linked to the Consultation and Participation Plan (C&P Plan) of the R-PP. The SESA will also draw on previous lessons from the Strategic Environment Assessment of the Forests Act by the World Bank (2007) and on the social and environmental safeguards of the Sustainable Forests Management Criteria and Indicators by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) (KFS, 2010). Four projects have been validated under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS) and two projects by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), demonstrating they meet the set social and environmental safeguard standard requirements (CCBD, n.d. and VCS, n.d.).
References to gender equality exist in plans and policies in Kenya which may be important to take into account for REDD+ development and implementation. For example, Kenya’s Vision 2030 spells out the goal to achieve equity in terms of power, resource distribution between the sexes and improved livelihoods. More recently, in 2011, Kenya enacted a Gender Policy to promote gender equality and mainstream gender issues in all policy fields.
Kenya’s revised R-PP from August 2010 makes some references to the need to ensure gender equity and strengthen women’s participation in REDD+. For example, under Component 1(1a) (national readiness management arrangements) the National REDD+ Coordination Office has oversight for particular gender concerns for all aspects of R-PP implementation.
The R-PP also states that feedback on the activities occurring from the R-PP’s implementation can come from a range of entities and sources including from Maendeleo ya Wanawake, a national gender advocacy organisation that has elected representation from the national to the local level (Component 1(1b) on stakeholder consultation and participation). Finally, Kenya’s R-PP makes a reference to the application of safeguards to ensure that social and environmental impacts are minimised and mitigated. This may include addressing some gender imbalance or inequality issues (Component 2c).
Currently, some gender activities are performed in the context of REDD+ projects. For example, the Kasigau Corridor project/Rukinga Sanctuary aims to respond to forest conversion by providing alternative livelihoods. One way to encourage alternative livelihoods is the provision of elephant dung to a mushroom farm run entirely by women. Further, villages participating in the project are represented by committees which are subject to compositional requirements, for instance, for women.
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