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The Legal Framework and Jurisprudence on the Right to Water in Kenya

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publication of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 guarantees under Article 43 the right of every person to access clean and safe water in adequate amounts. The Water Act 2016 provides that every person has the right to access water resources, whose administration is the function of the national government as stipulated in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution. Section 63 thereof also provides that every person in Kenya has the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities and to reasonable standards of sanitation as stipulated in Article 43 of the Constitution. All water resources in Kenya are vested in the State where the Ministry of Water and Irrigation is responsible for overseeing the institutions created to manage water resources and provide water services.

The Water Act 2016 provides although water resources are vested in National Government, they are held in trust for the people of Kenya. The Water Resources Authority established in Section 11(l) of the Water Act 2016 is to serve as an agent of the national government and regulate the management and use of water resources. Section 64(l) of the Water Act 2016 provides that the Cabinet Secretary should, within one year of the commencement of this Act and every five years thereafter, following public participation, formulate a Water Services Strategy. The object of the Water Strategy shall be to provide the Government’s plans and programs for the progressive realization of the right of every person in Kenya to water.

Section 37(l) provides that a permit is not required- for the abstraction or use of water, without the employment of works, from any water resource for domestic purposes by any person having lawful access to the water resource; for the abstraction of water in a spring which is situated wholly within the boundaries of the land owned by any one landholder and does not naturally discharge into a watercourse abutting on or extending beyond the boundaries of that land; or for the storage of water in, or the abstraction of water from a reservoir constructed for the purpose of such storage and which does not constitute a water course for the purposes of this Act.

It has been argued that the human right to water implies that water supply must be accessible within, or in the immediate vicinity of, each household, educational institution, workplace and public place. The right to water is now seen as an implicit component of the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to health. Indeed, in the Kenya case of Isaac Kipyego Cherop v State Ministry of Water & 142 others [2017] eKLR, the Court went further and affirmed that the right to clean water is intertwined with the right to clean and healthy environment.

It has rightly been pointed out that even though the right to water and sanitation is now anchored in international human rights law, there are still serious lags in implementation at the regional and national level. States, policymakers, international development partners and civil society groups working in the water and sanitation sector have often proved slow to act when it comes to making the right to drinking water and sanitation a reality. While commercialization and privatization of water sector may have its own benefits as far as efficiency is concerned, there is a need for the government to continue implementing pro-poor strategies aimed at ensuring that the poor and marginalized groups in society also have access to clean and safe water for use. This would be treated as part of human rights-based approach to water and sanitation for all. This is the only way that the progressive realization of socio-economic rights in Kenya would be realized for all.

In Mitubell Welfare Society vs. The Attorney General & 2 Others Petition No. 164 of 2011, Mumbi Ngugi, J held that; “The argument that socio-economic rights cannot be claimed at this point two years after the promulgation of the Constitution ignores the fact that no provisions of the Constitution is intended to wait until the state feels it is ready to meet its constitutional obligations. Article 21 and 43 require that there should be “progressive realization” of socio- economic rights, implying that the state must be seen to be taking steps, and I must add be seen to take steps towards realization of these rights………Granted also that these rights are progressive in nature, but there is a constitutional obligation on the state, when confronted with a matter such as this, to go beyond the standard objection….Its obligation requires that it assists the court by showing if, and how, it is addressing or intends to address the rights of citizens to the attainment of the socio-economic rights, and what policies, if any it has put in place to ensure that the rights are realized progressively and how the Petitioners in this case fit into its policies and plans.”

The progressive realization of the right to clean water by the State was also affirmed in the case of Isaac Kipyego Cherop v State Ministry of Water & 142 others [2017] eKLR where the Court stated as follows: I do find that though the Petitioner has right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities which the State is to endeavor to render progressively. I do agree with the 2nd respondent that the realization of the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities require huge financial commitments and therefore, the same can be achieved progressively. … I do find that the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities under Article 43 of the Constitution is subject to progressive realization. Rights under Article 43 of the Constitution can only be realized progressively. The State cannot realize this right for every Kenyan in one investment. The right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities is not a final product for direct dispensation but is aspirational.”

The Government is thus expected to take tangible steps towards ensuring that these rights are fulfilled for all persons. The Constitution also gives every person right to pursue their human rights before courts of law where the same are violated or are at the risk of being violated. To this end, courts have also held that the Environment and land court has the jurisdiction to hear and determine a dispute under Article 43 (d) touching on the right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities, as was decided in Isaac Kipyego Cherop v State Ministry of Water & 142 others [2017] eKLR. It is not until the Government fully treats the provision of water services to its people as a critical human right that they will aspire to ensure that all its citizens have access to clean, safe and adequate amounts of water. In cases of extreme poverty, the Government may be expected to provide water for basic needs for free while ensuring that for the bigger populace, the water is affordable by reigning in on unscrupulous water dealers while also ensuring that service provision complies with the human rights standards.

 

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya): Muigua, K., Fulfilling the Right to Water as a Socioeconomic Right for the People of Kenya, https://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/ 2020/11/Fulfilling-the-Right-to-Water-as-a-Socioeconomic-Right-for-the-People-of-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-Ph-D.pdf. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021. 

References

Albuquerque, C., “Climate Change and the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation.” (2010)< https://www2.ohchr.org/ english/issues/water/iexpert/docs/ClimateChange_HRtWS.pdf> (Accessed 11 December 2021).

CESR, ‘What Are Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?’ (3 December 2008), Available at: https://www.cesr.org/what-are-economic-social-and-cultural-rights (Accessed 29 October 2020).

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and others (eds), Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation: A Tool to Assist Policy Makers and Practitioners Develop Strategies for Implementing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions 2007).

Constitution of Kenya, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi, 2010.

Dawood Ahmed and Elliot Bulmer, ‘Social and Economic Rights,’ International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 9, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Second edition, 2017, Available at: https://www.idea.int/sites/default/files/publications/social-and-economic-rights-primer.pdf (Accessed 20 October, 2020).

Dos Santos, S. and others, ‘Urban Growth and Water Access in Sub-Saharan Africa: Progress, Challenges, and Emerging Research Directions’ (2017) 607–608 Science of The Total Environment 497.

Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development’ (1992) 10 Waterlines 4, Available at: http://www.cawater-info.net/library/eng/l/dublin.pdf (Accessed on 11 December 2021).

General Comment No. 15: The Right to Water (Arts. 11 and 12 of the Covenant), Adopted at the Twenty-ninth Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, on 20 January 2003 (Contained in Document E/C.12/2002/11).

Howard, G., and others, ‘Climate Change and Water and Sanitation: Likely Impacts and Emerging Trends for Action’ (2016) 41 Annual Review of Environment and Resources 253.

Human Rights Watch, “‘There Is No Time Left.’” (2 Jan. 2019), Available at:  www.hrw.org/report/2015/ 10/15/there-no-timeleft/climate-change-environmental-threats-and-human-rights-turkana; (Accessed 1 December 2021).

Kiefer, T., Winkler, I., and Cacciaguidi-Fahy, S., “Legal Resources for the Right to Water and Sanitation. International and National Standards.” International and National Standards – 2nd Edition (2008).

McGraw, G. S. “Defining and defending the right to water and its minimum core: legal construction and the role of national jurisprudence.” Loy. U. Chi. Int’l L. Rev. 8 (2010): 127.

Lancet Global Health, ‘Water and Sanitation in a Post-COVID World’ (2020) 8 The Lancet Global Health e1101.

Levin, T., M. Nierenköther, and N. Odenwälder. “The human right to water and sanitation: Translating theory into practice.” Eschenborn, Germany: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (2009).

Ling San Lau and others, ‘COVID-19 in Humanitarian Settings and Lessons Learned from Past Epidemics’ (2020) 26 Nature Medicine 647.

Nicol, A., ‘The Pandemic Is Laying Bare a Global Water Crisis’ (Foreign Policy) accessed 28 October 2020;

Safe Drinking Water Foundation, ‘Human Rights,’ Available at: https://www.safewater.org/fact-sheets-1/2017/1/23/human-rights (accessed 28 October 2020).

UN-Water, ‘Water’ (21 December 2015) https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/water/ (accessed 28 October 2020).

UN-Water, ‘UN World Water Development Report 2020 “Water and Climate Change”’ (UN-Water, 21 March 2020) accessed 28 October 2020.

United Nations, CESCR General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Art. 12), Adopted at the Twenty-second Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, on 11 August 2000 (Contained in Document E/C.12/2000/4);

UN General Assembly, The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Resolution / Adopted by the General Assembly, 3 August 2010, A/RES/64/292.

UN, ‘International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015. Focus Areas: The Human Right to Water and Sanitation’ https://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/human_right_to_water.shtml (accessed 21 October 2020).

UN General Assembly, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 21 October 2015, A/RES/70/1. 25.

Water Act, No. 43 of 2016, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi, 2016.

World Health Organization. Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus: interim guidance, 23 April 2020. No. WHO/2019-nCoV/IPC_WASH/2020.3. World Health Organization, 2020.

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Whether to Regulate or Not to Regulate ADR in Kenya

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Sustainable Development Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), The African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and ADR Publisher of the Year 2021*

Regulation of ADR is a subject wrought with contentious discourse. There are those who strongly advocate for ADR to be deregulated, while others argue for strong state regulation. On one end, the regulation of ADR carries with it the advantages of encouraging its adoption nationally; establishing standards of ADR practitioner’s competence; developing systems of compliance and complaints; addressing weaknesses of ADR such as ensuring the fairness of the procedure and building capacity and coherence of the ADR field.

Proponents of regulation have argued that regulation of ADR will increase the use and demand of services and create or enhance an ADR “market”. There are those who believe that the regulation of ADR may have its value in assuring that the parties employ qualified, neutral and skilled mediators and arbitrators in resolving a wide variety of disputes. However, this is countered by the argument that in mediation where the parties select private non-government mediators, monitoring is complimented by the fact that the parties share in the compensation of such neutrals, better assuring their freedom from bias. This assertion may be relevant to Kenya considering that private mediators are also appointed and compensated the same way. It is therefore possible to argue that the mediator may be compelled by this fact to act fairly.

Contention would, however, arise where there are allegations of corruption. It is not clear, at least in Kenya, how the parties would deal with the same. This is because, unlike in arbitration where parties may seek court’s intervention in setting aside the otherwise binding arbitral award, mediation outcome is non-binding and wholly relies on the goodwill of the parties to respect the same. Therefore, faced with the risk of corruption and the potential non-acceptance of the outcome by the parties, it is arguable that the foregoing argument of the compensation being a sufficient incentive may not be satisfactory. This may, arguably, call for better mechanisms of safeguarding the parties’ interests. In arbitration, the argument advanced is that whether of interests or rights disputes, the same process of joint selection and joint funding coupled with mutual selection of neutral from a tried and experienced cadre of professional arbitrators further assures their independence and neutrality, with protection of their integrity as their only ticket to future designations.

Again, the issue of independent practitioners would arise. For instance, in Kenya, there has been increased number of professionals taking up ADR. Professional bodies and higher institutions of learning have increased their rate of teaching ADR, as professional course and academic course respectively. The net effect of this will be increased number of ADR practitioners in the country. As part of professional development, not all of those who get the academic qualifications may enroll with the local institutions for certification as practitioners. There are also those who may obtain foreign qualifications and later seek such certification. However, there are those who are not affiliated to any institution or body. In such instances, it would only be hoped that they would conduct themselves in a professional manner, bearing in mind that any misconduct or unfair conduct may lead to setting aside of the award or even removal as an arbitrator by the High Court.

The court process obviously comes with extra costs and it would probably have been more effective to have a supervisory body or institution to report the unscrupulous practitioner for action, without necessarily involving the court. Such instances may thus justify the need for formal regulation, especially for the more formal mechanisms. Currently, there are attempts to make referral to ADR mandatory in Kenya. This is especially evidenced by the gazetted Mediation (Pilot Project) Rules, 2015, which provide that every civil action instituted in court after commencement of these Rules, must be subjected to mandatory screening by the Mediation Deputy Registrar and those found suitable and may be referred to mediation.

Thus, there is no choice as to whether one may submit the matters voluntarily or otherwise. While this may promote the use of mediation where the parties are generally satisfied with the outcome, the opposite may also be true. Caution ought to be exercised in balancing the need for facilitating expeditious access to justice through ADR and retaining the positive aspects of the processes. For instance, in other jurisdictions where there is provision for mandatory promotion of ADR processes, the use of those processes has not necessarily become common. Among the reasons given for this reluctance towards the adoption of ADR include lack of education and training in the field, lack of court-connected programs, whether voluntary or mandated and insufficient legislation.

The argument is thus made that when introducing ADR for the first time, there may be a need for some element of compulsion or legislative control, as this can support its growth. This is the path that the Kenyan Judiciary has taken. The Judiciary mediation programme is on a trial basis and the outcome will inform future framework or direction. The pilot program (having been rolled out to other stations outside Nairobi in May 2018) will define how the practitioners as well as the general public perceive court-annexed mediation and ADR in general. It is therefore important that the concerned drivers of this project use the opportunity to promote educational programming, with the efforts including workshops and seminars among the local practicing lawyers to enhance their understanding of ADR and the services provided by the pilot project. This, it is argued, may enable them to assist their clients in making informed decisions about whether or not to use ADR.

On the other end, it has been argued that legislative regulation, no matter how well meaning, inevitably limits and restrains. The regulation of ADR is feared to hamper its advantages. The developing country’s experience with court-annexed ADR indicates that when a judge imposes a conciliator or mediator on the parties, it does not provide the proper incentive for the parties to be candid about the case. ADR advantages such as low cost, procedural flexibility, enhanced access for marginalized groups and a predictable forum for conflict management tend to disappear when there is discretionary power with court personnel, procedural formalities within the ADR process or an artificial limit to competition within the ADR market.

Court mandated mediation has been argued to negate the fundamental aspects of voluntariness and party control that distinguish it from litigation, the very aspects attributed to its success in a vast number of cases. In addition, the “one size fits all” approach taken by legislation that encourages or requires all to use ADR, without regard to needs in various contexts and to the distinctions among the various processes, is another reason why ADR legislation should be undertaken with caution. For instance, in the Kenyan situation, while the Mediation (Pilot Project) Rules, 2015 require screening of civil matters for possible submission for mediation, it is possible for the Registrar to realise that some of the cases may be appropriate for arbitration instead of mediation. The programme only takes care of mediation process with no reference to arbitration or any other process, well, apart from litigation.

The question that would, therefore, arise is whether the Registrar has powers to force parties into arbitration as well. Further, if they have such powers, the next question would be who would pay for the process, bearing in mind that it is potentially cost-effective but may be expensive as well. On the other hand, if the Registrar lacks such powers, it is also a question worth addressing what the Court would do if it ordered the parties to resort to arbitration but both parties fail to do so due to such factors as costs. It is, therefore, worth considering whether the Mediation Accreditation Committee, established under the Civil Procedure Act, should have its mandate expanded to deal with all processes, or whether there should be set up another body to deal with the other processes.

*This article is an extract from published article Regulating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Practice in Kenya: Looking into the Future,” by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), CIArb (Kenya) ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and ADR Publisher of the Year 2021. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Foremost Dispute Resolution Expert in Africa ranked among Top 6 Arbitrators in Kenya by Chambers and Partners, Leading Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2022 and is ranked among the Top 5 Arbitrators in Kenya in 2022 by The Lawyer Africa. 

References

Muigua, K., “Regulating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Practice in Kenya: Looking into the Future,” Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Regulating-ADR-Practice-in-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-June-2018.pdf (accessed 09 July 2022).

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Safeguarding Pollinators for Sustainable Development in Kenya

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

The prevailing debate on sustainable development the world over mainly revolves around minimizing adverse human impact on the environment as part of maximizing accruing Ecosystem Services. However, one area of biological diversity conservation that has received little or no attention, especially under the current Kenyan environment and natural resources laws, is the plant pollinators’ community that plays an indispensable role in natural resources and environmental regeneration for ecosystem Services. Globally, biodiversity loss has been attributed to various factors, including, habitat loss, pest invasion, pollution, over-harvesting and disease. Pollination services are provided both by wild, free-living organisms and by commercially managed bee species. Bees are considered the predominant and most economically important group of pollinators in most geographical regions.

Past reports carried in the Kenyan local dailies have highlighted the problem, asserting that Kenyan farmers are driving bees, wasps, butterflies and other pollinators to extinction, consequently threatening food supply. Despite this, there is arguably inadequate evidence demonstrating Kenya’s commitment to protect these important organisms as part of biodiversity conservation, and ultimately, achieving the right to food security for all, as guaranteed under the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The inadequacy or lack of legal responses to pollinators’ protection in the Kenyan environmental and natural resources laws has had adverse effect on the pollinators, and arguably, their protection is currently based on a general approach to environmental conservation for provision of ecosystem services. Pollinators are part of the biodiversity and, if any measures geared towards biodiversity conservation are to succeed, they must include pollinators.

Pollinators are important for the provision of ecosystem services. Pollination is vital to the ecosystems and to human societies and the health and wellbeing of pollinating insects is considered as crucial to life, be it in sustaining natural habitats or contributing to local and global economies. Biotic pollination is meant to be a symbiotic process in which both the animal pollinators and the plants benefit in terms of food for the former and pollination process for the latter. This discourse is thus meant to address the factors and practices that adversely affect this mutual relationship between the two groups. Considering that ‘plants serve as air and water filters, are an indispensible part of the water cycle, prevent erosion of valuable soil re-sources, and give us numerous foods, fibers, and medicines, pollinators are considered as critical to biodiversity, ecosystem services, agricultural productivity, world economies, and human quality of life’. Any threats to these animal pollinators therefore threaten the whole chain of natural provision of ecosystem services.

Protection of Pollinators: The Legal, Institutional and Policy Framework

Internationally, the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, with the objective of conservation of biological diversity. While the Convention does not specifically mention pollinators, it accords “Biological diversity” a broad definition to mean ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems’. Pollinators are thus covered under these broad definitions as part of the biodiversity to be protected and conserved under the Convention. The Convention outlines under Article 6 thereof state obligations on the general measures for conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity within their territories.

The Agenda 21 also contains provisions under section 15 thereof on the conservation of biological diversity. Agenda 21 specifically acknowledges that our planet’s essential goods and services depend on the variety and variability of genes, species, populations and ecosystems. The Aichi Biodiversity Target seeks to ensure that, by 2020, areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity. The Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act 1999 (EMCA) calls for conservation of ‘biological diversity’. Notably, EMCA provides for conservation of biological resources in situ and ex-situ. Other provisions in EMCA that are germane to protection of pollinators relate to standards of pesticides and toxic substances. EMCA further provides for the registration of the pesticide or toxic substance, before importing, manufacturing, processing or reprocessing of pesticides or toxic substance.

Kenya’s National Environment Policy 2012 rightly points out that ‘the main human activities contributing to environmental degradation in Kenya include unsustainable agricultural land use, poor soil and water management practices, deforestation, overgrazing, and pollution’. ‘These activities contribute a great deal to degradation of the country’s natural resources such as land, fresh and marine waters, forests and biodiversity threatens the livelihoods of many people. They undermine the sink function of the environment which operates through such processes as nutrient recycling, decomposition and the natural purification and filtering of air and water.’ All the foregoing national laws and policy instruments have some issues that may affect pollinators in their implementation, but notably, most of them hardly mention pollinators. There is no dedicated law that is meant to protect the pollinators and currently, their protection can only be done within the framework of all the above laws.

Safeguarding the Future: Addressing the Challenges Affecting Pollinators

It has rightly been pointed out that insect pollinators of crops and wild plants are under threat globally and their decline or loss could have profound economic and environmental consequences. Specifically, insect pollinators are believed to face growing pressure from the effects of intensified land use, climate change, alien species, and the spread of pests and pathogens; and this has serious implications for human food security and health, and ecosystem function. There is need to avert the danger facing pollinators, and this can be achieved through various ways. While some require radical change in management approaches, others require all stakeholders to work closely and also include other relevant but often ignored groups in implementing decisions.

*This article is an extract from the Article: Securing Our Destiny through Effective Management of the Environment, (2020) Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development Volume 4(3), p. 1.  by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022.

References

Muigua, K., “Securing Our Destiny through Effective Management of the Environment,” (2020) Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development Volume 4(3), p. 1.

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Regulating the Extractives Industry in Kenya: Challenges and Prospects

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

It is estimated that Africa hosts 30% of the earth’s mineral reserves, including 40% of gold, 60% of cobalt, and 70% of platinum deposits, and produce about 30% of the world’s gold, 70% of the world’s platinum, 28% of the world’s palladium, and 16% of the world’s bauxite. In addition, Africa also produces (yearly, in thousand metric tons) 205,056 of hard coal, 67,308 of nickel bearing ores, and 29,174 of iron bearing ores, as well as 595,507 kg of gold bearing ores. The extractive or mining industries generally have long been touted as key to anchor ‘development’ or ‘economic growth’ to alleviate poverty in developing countries. Despite this, African countries have largely exhibited low levels of development and poor standards of living. This has been attributed to various factors including exploitative multinational corporations, lack of expertise and corruption, and African countries negotiating unfavourable mining development agreements, with the result that the Continent has received inadequate returns for its mineral wealth.

At the continental level, the Africa Mining Vision is expected to address most of these challenges if not all. But despite this Vision document, most of the African countries still struggle with making the mineral resources work for them, in uplifting the lives of their people. Kenya is no exception as it has a number of mineral deposits albeit in smaller amounts, which, as already pointed out, have not contributed much to the country’s GDP as would be expected. The communities are also yet to boast of any significant benefits from the mining activities going on within their regions. Notably, GDP from Mining in Kenya is estimated to have increased to 12527 KES Million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 12313 KES Million in the third quarter of 2018. GDP from Mining in Kenya averaged 8963.05 KES Million from 2009 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 12906 KES Million in the first quarter of 2018 and a record low of 4195 KES Million in the first quarter of 2009.

According to the Mining and Minerals Policy, Sessional Paper No. 7 of 2016, as at 2016, the sector was contributing 0.8 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) per annum. The contribution to GDP was expected to increase to three (3) percent by 2017 and ten (10) percent by 2030 according to the Medium Term Plan (MTP) II (2013-2017). While these statistics paint a hopeful picture with the figures increasing over the last ten years, there is still a lot of room for not only growth in these figures but also positive contribution of the mining sector to the lives of the ordinary citizens especially those to be found within the localities where such mining takes place. Indeed, the discovery of such minerals as the titanium deposits products in the Coastal region gives hope to the expectation of a brighter future for the sector and country at large. Reserves for Titanium and Niobium, both found in the Coast region, are projected to be worth Sh9 trillion, and Sh3.8 trillion for the estimated 750 million barrels, according to Tullow Oil’s 2017 projections.

Regulations were made by the Cabinet Secretary seeking to ensure that the mining activities do not only go on smoothly but also that they benefit the local communities even as they contribute to the national development agenda. These Regulations are meant to streamline the mining sector in the country by ensuring that some of the main provisions in the Mining Act 2016 are fully and efficiently implemented. Notably, some of these Regulations such as the Mining (Use of Local Goods and Services) Regulations, 2017; Mining (Employment and Training) Regulations, 2017 are meant to directly empower the local communities by promoting job creation and market for locally produced goods. However, while these Regulations mean well for the local communities and local industries, a lot still needs to be done to ensure that the environment favours the implementation of such Regulations.

For instance, the Regulations on use of local goods and services require that the holder of a licence, its contractors and sub-contractors shall, to the maximum extent possible, when purchasing goods and procuring services required with respect to operations or any activity to be conducted under a licence, give first priority to- materials and goods made in Kenya; and services provided by citizens of Kenya or entities incorporated and operating in Kenya or owned and controlled by Kenyans: provided that such goods and services are equal in quality, quantity and price to, or better than, goods and services obtainable outside of Kenya. This proviso stands to defeat the purpose of these Regulations.

As it may be proved through statistics, there are many factors of production that may, and have indeed, been making locally produced goods more expensive when compared to imported ones. Thus, as long as investors can prove that they can source such goods and/or services at more competitive prices or those with better quality, they will easily bypass the requirements of these Regulations. The manufacturing sector and other factors affecting the local production of goods and services may thus need to be fixed before these Regulations can effectively be implemented. Unless capacity is built across all stages of mineral extraction right from minerals agreements’ negotiations all the way to the actual extraction of these resources, then Africa, including Kenya, will continue to lag behind in development despite its rich deposits in minerals.

*This article is an extract from the Article: Securing Our Destiny through Effective Management of the Environment, (2020) Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development Volume 4(3), p. 1.  by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022.

Reference

Muigua, K., “Securing Our Destiny through Effective Management of the Environment,” (2020) Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development Volume 4(3), p. 1.  

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