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The Challenges Hindering Access 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 provision of water services for all Kenyans still remains a challenge despite the recognition of the right to clean, safe and adequate amounts of water for all Kenyans. This may be attributed to these factors discussed below but are in no way exhaustive.

Climate Change and Access to Clean, Safe and Adequate Water

Climate change is expected to continually and negatively affect the quality of water. This is because increasing water temperatures, higher or lower groundwater levels, floods and droughts raise the threat of heightened micro-organisms, chemical substances and radiological hazards in drinking water. Thus, as far as climate change is concerned, it generally affects water supply though some of the following ways: damage to infrastructure from flooding, loss of water sources due to declining rainfall and increasing demand, and changes in the water quality of water sources and within distribution of water.

Legal and Institutional Challenges

It has been argued that while the related pressures of anthropogenic climate change and population growth will continue to make essential natural resources scarce globally, domestic and international policy has been slow to adapt to this threat. The water sector is mainly governed by the Water Act, 2016, which was enacted to provide for the regulation, management and development of water resources, water and sewerage services; and for other connected purposes. The Act was also meant to align the water sector with the Constitution’s primary objective of devolution where the Act acknowledges that water related functions are a shared responsibility between the national government and the county government.

One of the characteristics of privatization and commercialization of water resources is the need for operational permits for various uses of water. Section 36 of the Water Act 2016 provides that a permit is required for any of the following purposes- any use of water from a water resource, except as provided by section 37; the drainage of any swamp or other land; the discharge of a pollutant into any water resource; and any other purpose, to be carried out in or in relation to a water resource, which is prescribed by Regulations made under this Act to be a purpose for which a permit is required.

While the 2016 Water Act introduced the shared water management system as per the Constitution between the national and county governments, the main management structure and decision making powers were mostly left with the national government’s organs. This has often created tension between the two levels of government, each seeking to control the sector. This may have at times affected provision of water services. This is especially so where the national Government institutions such as the Water Resources Management Authority and the Water Services Regulation Authority may claim power to license and issue permits relating to water use and access while at the same time county governments may seek to control water bodies within their territories, resulting in conflicts.

Poverty

Poverty levels among the Kenyan communities and especially among the urban informal settlements play a huge role in hindering access to water services considering that private water vendors who are the main suppliers of water in such areas are in business. Lack of purchasing power thus drive the households to use unsafe, dirty and inadequate amounts of water for their domestic needs.

Population Growth and Rural-Urban Migration

While the Government’s efforts have always been to ensure that both the urban and the rural areas of the country all have access to clean and adequate water, past studies have showed that the rampant population growth coupled with high rates of rural-urban migration has always left the Government struggling to meet the resultant high water demands in the urban areas due to water shortage and the pressure on the infrastructure.

Gender Inequality and Realization of Right to Water

Gender is used to refer to the different roles, rights, and responsibilities of men and women and the relations between them, that is to say, gender does not simply refer to women or men, but to the way their qualities, behaviours, and identities are determined through the process of socialization. It has rightly been argued that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, due to their needs during periods of increased vulnerability to infection around menstruation and reproduction as well as the fact that women and girls also have a larger role relative to men in water, sanitation and hygiene activities, including in agriculture and domestic labour.

Specifically, it has been noted that women and girls are responsible for fetching water in most households, a practice that has implications for women’s health in the form of spinal injury, neck pain, spontaneous abortion from heavy and awkward workloads, and caloric expenditure. In addition, it has rightly been argued that water-fetching responsibilities by women and girls also add to the burden of unpaid domestic work, decrease time towards other income-generating activities and affect the time for leisure and nonessential activities.

*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-contentuploads/ 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).

Chepyegon, C. and Kamiya, D., ‘Challenges Faced by the Kenya Water Sector Management in Improving Water Supply Coverage’ (2018) 10 Journal of Water Resource and Protection 85; ‘Nairobi Water: What’s behind Severe Shortages?’ BBC News (2 November 2019) (accessed 14 December 2021).

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.

Muigua, Kariuki. “Streamlining Water Governance in Kenya for Sustainable Development.” (2017), Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Streamlining-Water-Governance-in-Kenya-17TH-FEBRUARY-2017.pdf (accessed 14 December 2021).

Navarra Center for International Development, ‘Water Provision in Kenya: Problems and Challenges in Managing Finite Resources,’ http://ncid.unav.edu/en/news/water-provision-kenya-problems-and-challenges-managing-finite-resources (accessed 14 December 2021).

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).

Sarkar, A., ‘Informal Water Vendors and the Urban Poor: Evidence from a Nairobi Slum’ (2020) 45 Water International 443.

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.

Water Project, ‘The Water Crisis: Poverty and Water Scarcity in Africa,’ Available at: https://thewaterproject.org/why-water/poverty (accessed 14 December 2021).

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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News & Analysis

What is Carbon Markets?

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Written by Faith Nyambura Kabora, Advocate.

Carbon markets are a mechanism designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are essentially gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the negative impacts of climate change such as prolonged drought and rising of sea levels.

Carbon markets operate on the principle of putting a price on carbon emissions to create commercial/economic incentives for public and private entities to reduce their carbon footprint and invest in cleaner, sustainable practices.

Ideally, by putting a price on carbon, the carbon markets encourage sustainable environmental practices and help counties meet their emission reduction targets under international treaties, like the Paris Agreement, which Kenya is a signatory to. For a broader understanding, here is how a carbon market works;

  1. A Government establishes a limit on the total amount of greenhouse gas emission/pollution is allowed within its geographical limits;
  2. A grant, say permissions are created and distributed to eligible participants. This allowance represents the right to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gas;
  3. The participants can then buy and sell the allowances. Ideally, those who reduce their emissions more efficiently sell their surplus allowance to those who find it more challenging to reduce the emissions. If a company pollutes a lot, they need to buy more permissions, and if they do not pollute as much, they can sell their extra permissions.
  4. Entities are required to hold enough allowances to cover their actual emissions. If they exceed allocated allowances, they face penalties or, as expounded above, they buy additional allowances. This is the part where compliance becomes mandatory for all the key players.
  5. The price of the allowances fluctuates based on supply and demands and reflects the cost of emitting greenhouse gases. It is essentially like paying for pollution.

A carbon market plays a pivotal role in advancing climate action and promoting sustainable practices by incentivizing companies to reconsider their pollution practices, which can result in financial consequences as pollution becomes a costly endeavor. In Kenya, the introduction of a Carbon Market is imperative as the world confronts the dire consequences of climate change. Furthermore, it offers a commercial opportunity for investors considering the growing demand for environmentally friendly and carbon neutral products and services.

As mentioned above, the Paris Agreement is one of the most important international treaties dedicated strengthen global response to the negative impact of climate change. Ultimately, the Agreement’s goal is to motivate countries to limit global emissions and more importantly, to hold them accountable for their actions around reducing their carbon footprints.

Kenya as a signatory to the Paris Agreement has made significant contributions towards fulfilling the obligations under the Paris Agreement of limiting global temperature. The Climate Change (Amendment) Act 2023, nudges Kenya towards the realization of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement by introducing provisions and regulation of and participation in carbon markets.

As one of the top law firms in Nairobi, MMA Advocates is renowned for its proactive strategy and innovative legal lawyer advice. Our firm is committed to delivering strategic assistance that not only tackles current difficulties but also equips clients for future legal trends and advancements. As top lawyers in Nairobi Kenya, we take great satisfaction in our ability to combine in-depth legal knowledge with creative problem-solving. We keep a close eye on business trends and legal advancements to deliver timely guidance that enables our clients to make wise choices.

Our main goal as MMA Advocates is to establish long-lasting partnerships based on integrity, decency, and reliability. Since every client’s circumstance is unique, our best advocates in Kenya offer timely service and individualized attention at every stage of our collaboration. We make sure our clients are informed and empowered throughout their legal journey because we value openness and transparency in communication. In every case we take on, we are deeply committed to obtaining positive results and client satisfaction. This is just one aspect of our unwavering commitment to quality.

Whether you are a startup negotiating regulatory obstacles, an established corporation expanding, or a private citizen seeking legal assistance on personal problems, our Best Corporate Lawyers in Kenya are dedicated to becoming your legal partner. Our expertise include Commercial Litigation, Real Estate & Development, Fintech, Public Procurement (Public Private Partnerships), Project Finance, Public Law Litigation, Legal Audits & Compliance Advisory and Crisis Management.

We hope to arm you with the legal know-how and strategies needed to achieve your objectives. Our team enjoys taking on challenging legal matters with creativity and strategic understanding, protecting your rights and effectively achieving your goals. With a thorough comprehension of both regional laws and global norms, we are prepared to confidently and competently lead you through the complexities of corporate law.

In the intensely competitive legal arena, our tailored legal and strategic solutions distinguish us. We value depth over breadth, guaranteeing our clients our full dedication and unparalleled efficiency. Where many spread themselves wide, we narrow our focus to a select few of the most challenging cases. We tread the path less traveled.

To find out more about how MMA Advocates in Nairobi Kenya can help you with your legal issues, get in touch with us. With our team of committed professionals and our standing as one of the top law firms in Nairobi, we are well-positioned to offer outcomes that surpass expectations and guarantee your success in a legal environment that is always changing.

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Review: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Journal, Volume 12(3), 2024

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The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Journal, Volume. 12, No.3, 2024 covers pertinent and emerging issues across all ADR mechanisms. This volume exposes our readers to a variety of salient topics and concerns in ADR including Building Peace in Africa, Public Policy as a Ground of Setting-Aside an Arbitral Award, Ethics, Integrity and Best Practice in Mediation, Accessing Justice in Kenya, Sports Arbitration, ESG Arbitration, Arbitration of Investor-State Dispute in Kenya, Article 159(2) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and issuance of interim measures by Arbitral Tribunals. The ADR Journal is a publication of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Kenya Branch. It provides a platform for scholarly debate and in-depth investigations into both theoretical and practical questions in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

The journal is edited by Professor of Law at the University of Nairobi, Faculty of Law Hon Prof. Kariuki Muigua, a distinguished law scholar, an accomplished mediator and arbitrator with a Ph.D. in law from the University of Nairobi and widespread training and experience in both international and national commercial arbitration and mediation. Prof. Muigua is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)- Kenya chapter and also a Chartered Arbitrator. He is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague. He also serves as a member of the National Environment Tribunal. He has served as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrator’s (CIArb- UK) Regional Trustee for Africa from 2019 -2022.

In the paper “Building Peace in Africa through Alternative Dispute Resolution”  Hon. Prof. Kariuki Muigua critically discusses the role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in peace building in Africa. The paper argues that ADR mechanisms can play a fundamental role in building peace in Africa. The paper further posits that ADR mechanisms are able to enhance sustainable peace in Africa due to their focus on reconciliation and restorative justice. It proposes solutions towards building peace in Africa through ADR.

In “the Emergence of the International Commercial Court: A Threat to Arbitration of Investor-State Dispute in Kenya” Marion Injendi Wasike and Dr. Kenneth W. Mutuma argue that the proliferation of international commercial courts, including their introduction in Kenya, necessitates a thorough analysis of their implications on arbitration’s role in investor-state disputes. By juxtaposing these emerging judicial entities against traditional arbitration paradigms, the discussion aims to unravel the complexities and potential shifts in dispute resolution preferences, highlighting the balance between innovation in legal adjudication and the sustenance of arbitration’s revered position in the international legal order.

Kamau Karori SC, MBS in “Striking a Balance: A Delicate Dance Between Sanctity and Scrutiny” notes that the continuing debate —between upholding the inviolability of arbitral awards and judicial intervention in cases of egregious injustice points to the need for delicate balancing between non-interference and the need to correct unmistakably unjust awards. The urgency of this discourse is informed by the need to prevent consumers or potential consumers of arbitration services opting to exclude arbitration clauses due to perceived deficiencies. The article seeks to navigate the genesis of the debate, delicately dissect the different perspectives, and draw comparisons with global practices.

The article “Reforming Kenya’s Law on Probation and Aftercare Services to Promote Alternative Dispute Resolution” by Michael Sang engages in a comprehensive exploration of Kenya’s Probation of Offenders Act within the context of the growing role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) principles in the nation’s criminal justice system. Drawing inspiration from international legal instruments such as “The Beijing Rules,” “Bangkok Rules,” and “Tokyo Rules,” the study evaluates the Act’s provisions, strengths, and limitations. It concludes with a call for thoughtful reforms that align Kenya’s criminal justice system with international standards, emphasizing a balanced and compassionate approach to justice.

The “Upholding Ethics, Integrity and Best Practice in Mediation” by Hon. Prof. Kariuki Muigua, OGW critically discusses the need for standardization of mediation practice in Kenya by adopting best practices. It examines some of the challenges facing mediation practice in Kenya. It is also explores measures adopted towards fostering best practices in mediation at both the global and national level. The paper further suggests recommendations aimed at upholding ethics, integrity and best practice in mediation. In “Exploring the Role of Mediation in Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Fostering Economic Growth in Kenya” Atundo Wambare offers an in-depth analysis of the use of mediation in promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SME’s). He makes recommendations on how best mediation can be harnessed as a tool for economic growth in Kenya.

James Njuguna and Nyamboga George Nyanaro in “Compulsory Resolution or Autonomy Erosion? The Debate on Mandatory Sports Arbitration delve into the contentious issue of mandatory sports arbitration, questioning its role as a potential future pathway for dispute resolution. Their research examines the implications of compulsory arbitration on athletes’ autonomy, juxtaposing it with the benefits of expedited dispute resolution.

Paul Ngotho in “Constitution of Kenya 2010 Article 159.2.(c): Ancestry, Anatomy, Efficacy & Legacy” traces the rather odd origin and everlasting effect of the often-cited Article 159.2.(c) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. It acknowledges the central role played by two members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Kenya Branch, quietly and privately, away from the mainstream constitution making process. One of them chairman of the Branch, the other the Minister of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs.

David Onsare in “Navigating The ESG Maze: Emerging Trends in Arbitration and Corporate Accountability” embarks on a timely exploration of the dynamic interplay between Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors and arbitration, a field gaining critical importance in the realm of corporate accountability. By offering a comprehensive view of the complexities and practical implications of ESG in arbitration, the article serves as a crucial guide for legal professionals navigating the evolving landscape of corporate responsibility and arbitration. In “Public Policy as a Ground of Setting-Aside an Arbitral Award: Musings on the Centurion Engineers Civil Appeal Judgment”

Ibrahim Kitoo argues a case for upholding of public policy as a ground for the nonrecognition, non-enforcement and setting aside of an arbitral award in cases where to recognise and enforce such awards proves to be a clear violation of the law and against the public good. Juvenalis Ngowi in “Arbitral Tribunals: Do they have the power to issue interim measures during the proceedings?” discusses the powers of the Arbitral Tribunal to grant such orders and examines some procedural rules which empower arbitrators to issue such orders, the scope of those powers, and the factors to be considered when granting interim measures in the arbitral proceedings.

In “Examining the Efficacy of Mediation as A Tool for Accessing Justice in Kenya: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Perspectives” Murithi Antony undertakes a thorough examination of mediation as a form of ADR in the Kenyan context. He identifies opportunities arising from the integration of mediation into the country’s legal system and explores barriers impeding its widespread adoption. The article concludes with a resounding call to action for all stakeholders to champion the use of mediation collaboratively and proactively, given its proven efficacy in dispute resolution.

Kariuki Muigua & Company Advocates is a Top-Tier Kenyan law firm situated at the heart of Nairobi city in Kenya. We are a broad-based practice with a reputation for offering a full range of quality services to our domestic and international clients.

At KM&CO, we take pride in offering personalized attention to our diverse clientele. Our practice aspires to offer efficient and cost-effective legal solutions that meet our esteemed clients’ needs in a timely and competent manner.

KM&CO was founded in 1993 by the current senior Advocate, Dr. Kariuki Muigua. It is based in the Central Business District of Nairobi at the Pioneer Assurance House located opposite 7th August Bomb Blast Memorial Park enjoying the convenience of close proximity to major financial, commercial and governmental institutions.

We are open for consultations with our clients worldwide; we have lawyers on standby for 24 hours to cover diverse time zones that impact on our global clients.

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Way Forward in Applying Collaborative Approaches Towards Conflict Management

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By Hon. Prof. Kariuki Muigua, OGW, PhD, C.Arb, FCIArb is a Professor of Environmental Law and Dispute Resolution at the University of Nairobi, Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration, Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Respected Sustainable Development Policy Advisor, Top Natural Resources Lawyer, Highly-Regarded Dispute Resolution Expert and Awardee of the Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) of Kenya by H.E. the President of Republic of Kenya. He is the Academic Champion of ADR 2024, the African ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022, the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, ADR Practitioner of the Year in Kenya 2021, CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and Author of the Kenya’s First ESG Book: Embracing Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) tenets for Sustainable Development” (Glenwood, Nairobi, July 2023) and Kenya’s First Two Climate Change Law Book: Combating Climate Change for Sustainability (Glenwood, Nairobi, October 2023), Achieving Climate Justice for Development (Glenwood, Nairobi, October 2023), Promoting Rule of Law for Sustainable Development (Glenwood, Nairobi, January 2024) and Actualizing the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment (Glenwood, Nairobi, March 2024)*

It is necessary to embrace and utilize collaborative approaches in managing conflicts. These techniques include mediation, negotiation, and facilitation. These mechanisms are effective in managing conflicts since they encourage parties to embrace and address disagreements through empathy and listening towards mutually beneficial solutions. Collaborative approaches also have the potential to preserve relationships, build trust, and promote long term positive change. They also ensure a win-win solution is found so that everyone is satisfied which creates the condition for peace and sustainability. These approaches are therefore ideal in managing conflicts. It is therefore important to embrace collaborative approaches in order to ensure effective management of conflicts.

In addition, it is necessary for third parties including mediators and facilitators to develop their skills and techniques in order to enhance the effectiveness of collaborative approaches towards conflict management. For example, it has correctly been observed that mediators and facilitators should listen actively and empathetically in order to assist parties to collaborate towards managing their dispute. Therefore, when a dispute arises, the first step should involve listening to all parties involved with an open mind and without judgment. This should entail active listening, which means paying attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues and acknowledging the emotions and perceptions involved.

It has been observed that by listening empathetically, a third party such as a mediator of facilitator can understand each person’s perspective and start to build a foundation for resolving the conflict through collaboration. In addition, while collaborating towards conflict management, it is necessary to encourage and help parties to focus on interests and not positions. It has been pointed out that focusing positions can result in a standstill which can delay or even defeat the conflict management process. However, by identifying and addressing the underlying interests parties can find common ground and collaborate towards coming up with creative solutions towards their conflict.

Mediators and facilitators should also assist parties to look for areas of agreement or shared goals. Identifying a common ground can build momentum and create a positive environment for resolving the conflict. Further, in order to ensure the effectiveness of collaborative approaches in conflict management, it is necessary to build strong collaboration. It has been asserted that strong collaboration can be achieved by establishing a shared purpose, cultivating trust among parties, encouraging active participation by all parties, and promoting effective communication.

Strong collaboration enables parties to develop trust between and among themselves and strengthen communication channels between the various parties. It also helps to generate inclusive solutions that arise from wider stakeholders’ views. Therefore while applying collaborative approaches, it is necessary for parties to foster strong collaboration by identifying common goals, building trust, ensuring that all stakeholders are involved, and communicating effectively in order to come up with win-win outcomes.

Finally, while embracing collaborative approaches in conflict management, it is necessary for parties to consider seeking help from third parties if need arises. For example, negotiation is always the first point of call whenever a conflict arises whereby parties attempt to manage their conflict without the involvement of third parties. It has been described as the most effective collaborative approach towards conflict management since it starts with an understanding by both parties that they must search for solutions that satisfy everyone.

It enables parties to a dispute to come together to openly discuss the issue causing tension, actively listen to each other, and come up with mutually satisfactory solutions. However, it has been correctly observed that negotiation may fail especially if the conflict is particularly complex or involves multiple parties due to challenges in collaborating. In such circumstances, where negotiation fails, parties should consider resorting to other collaborative approaches such as mediation and facilitation where they attempt to manage the conflict with the help of a third party. A mediator or facilitator can assist parties to collaborate and continue with the negotiations and ultimately break the deadlock.

*This is an extract from Kenya’s First Clean and Healthy Environment Book: Actualizing the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment (Glenwood, Nairobi, January 2024) by Hon. Prof.  Kariuki Muigua, OGW, PhD, Professor of Environmental Law and Dispute Resolution, Senior Advocate of Kenya, Chartered Arbitrator, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya), African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, Africa ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022, Member of National Environment Tribunal (NET) Emeritus (2017 to 2023) and Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration nominated by Republic of Kenya and Academic Champion of ADR 2024. Prof. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Prof. Kariuki Muigua teaches Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law, The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) and Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies. He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Prof. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates and Africa Trustee Emeritus of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 2019-2022. Prof. Muigua is a 2023 recipient of President of the Republic of Kenya Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) Award for his service to the Nation as a Distinguished Expert, Academic and Scholar in Dispute Resolution and recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Band 1 in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2024 and was listed in the Inaugural THE LAWYER AFRICA Litigation Hall of Fame 2023 as one of the Top 50 Most Distinguished Litigation Lawyers in Kenya and the Top Arbitrator in Kenya in 2023.

References

Bercovitch. J., ‘Conflict and Conflict Management in Organizations: A Framework for Analysis.’ Available at https://ocd.lcwu.edu.pk/cfiles/International%20Relations/EC/IR403/Conflict.ConflictManagementinOrga nizations.pdf (Accessed on 01/03/2024).

Bercovitch. J., ‘Mediation Success or Failure: A Search for the Elusive Criteria.’ Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 7, p 289.

Bloomfield. D., ‘Towards Complementarity in Conflict Management: Resolution and Settlement in Northern Ireland,’ Journal of Peace Research., Volume 32, Issue 2.

Burrell. B., ‘The Five Conflict Styles’ Available at https://web.mit.edu/collaboration/mainsite/ modules/module1/1.11.5.html (Accessed on 01/03/2024).

Demmers. J., ‘Theories of Violent Conflict: An Introduction’ (Routledge, New York, 2012).

Diana. M., ‘From Conflict to Collaboration’ Available at https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/conflict-collaboration-beyond-projectsuccess-1899 (Accessed on 01/03/2024).

Food and Agriculture Organization., ‘Collaborative Conflict Management for Enhanced National Forest Programmes (NFPs)’ Available at https://www.fao.org/3/i2604e/i2604e00.pdf (Accessed on 01/03/2024).

International Organization for Peace Building., ‘Natural Resources and Conflict: A Path to Mediation.’ Available at https://www.interpeace.org/2015/11/naturalresources-and-conflict-a-path-to-mediation/ (Accessed on 01/03/2024).

Isenhart. M.W., & Spangle. M., ‘Summary of “Collaborative Approaches to Resolving Conflict” ‘ Available at https://www.beyondintractability.org/bksum/isenhart-collaborative (Accessed on 01/03/2024).

Kaushal. R., & Kwantes. C., ‘The Role of Culture and Personality in Choice of Conflict Management Strategy.’ International Journal of Intercultural Relations 30 (2006) 579– 603.

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Kariuki Muigua & Company Advocates is a Top-Tier Kenyan law firm situated at the heart of Nairobi city in Kenya. We are a broad-based practice with a reputation for offering a full range of quality services to our domestic and international clients.

At KM&CO, we take pride in offering personalized attention to our diverse clientele. Our practice aspires to offer efficient and cost-effective legal solutions that meet our esteemed clients’ needs in a timely and competent manner.

KM&CO was founded in 1993 by the current senior Advocate, Dr. Kariuki Muigua. It is based in the Central Business District of Nairobi at the Pioneer Assurance House located opposite 7th August Bomb Blast Memorial Park enjoying the convenience of close proximity to major financial, commercial and governmental institutions.

We are open for consultations with our clients worldwide; we have lawyers on standby for 24 hours to cover diverse time zones that impact on our global clients.

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