Connect with us

News & Analysis

Role of Science and Technology in Environmental Management in Kenya



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*

Science and technology has been identified as capable of providing effective solutions to most, if not all, environmental problems facing the world. In the context of environmental management, environmental science studies the mechanisms and processes underlying our interactions with the natural environment whereas environmental technology allows application of such knowledge through actions geared towards environmental protection and conservation. Technology not only refers to machines and equipment, but also includes the knowledge, abilities, skills, processes and systems necessary to facilitate environmental conservation and protection. To this extent, technology has been classified as soft technology which entails information, training, research and capacity building and hard technology comprising of equipment.

Science and technology have resulted in many environmental problems but can also be key to addressing environmental concerns such climate change, waste management and environmental degradation. It has been described as a double edged sword capable of both doing and undoing environmental damage. Most environmental challenges such as global warming and climate change can be attributed to technological innovations since they are majorly caused by industrial pollution and fuel emissions from motor vehicles. Addressing these environmental concerns requires the input of science and technology through measures such as reducing greenhouse gases, conserving biological diversity, providing clean energy and expanding the adoption of green technologies for climate change mitigation.

Environmental management and decision making in Kenya is governed by laws, regulations, and policies. Due to the shortcomings of such laws, regulations and policies, there is need for these processes to be informed by scientific evidence. Indeed, science has the ability to remedy the shortcomings of laws and regulations through effective solutions tailor made to specific problems. The outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is a clear example. Whereas countries have applied laws such as lock downs, curfews, quarantine and travel restrictions, spread of the virus still continues and the most effective solution to the pandemic would be through scientific knowledge and research to discover a cure and a viable vaccine. In the context of environmental management, there is need to link law and science in order to ensure effective environmental management.

In Kenya, the Constitution obligates the state to recognize the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation. To this effect, strides have been made towards the use of science and technology in environmental management. The ban on the manufacture, importation, supply, distribution and use of plastic bags and the subsequent adoption of woven bags has helped to curb environmental pollution. However, more needs to be done to integrate the use of science and technology in environmental management in Kenya. Adoption of cleaner technologies in such areas as transport, energy production and food production can be an effective preventive measure. Scientific knowledge is also useful in helping the citizenry adopt healthy lifestyles for a better, cleaner and healthier environment.

Some of the measures that can be adopted towards integrating the use of science and technology in environmental management in Kenya include:

Industrial Waste Treatment

In Kenya, most of the waste discharged from industries is not treated before recycling or disposal. This poses health risks and causes damage to the environment since such waste is often discharged into water sources. Consequently, the industries involved in pollution have found themselves at war with environment entities including the National Environment Management Authority. Some of the measures that have taken by NEMA include closure of industries allegedly engaged in these acts. However, with recent reports of industrial pollution of river sources such as the Nairobi River, questions still linger on the effectiveness of measures adopted in dealing with this challenge. Industrial pollution is a global problem which is not alien to Kenya.

Scientific measures that have been adopted to deal with industrial waste include use of materials such as zeolites, geopolymers, activated carbons and nanomaterials due to their characteristics such as ion exchange capacity, adsorption and photocatalytic action. However, use of science and technology in industrial waste treatment has not been fully appreciated in Kenya. NEMA acknowledges that waste treatment technologies have not been fully embraced in the country which can be attributed to a number of factors such as lack of awareness and knowledge of such technologies; inadequate funding; limited technical competence and slow adoption of modern technological options. There is need for the use of science and technology in industrial waste management in order to enhance environmental management and protection.

Adoption of Green and Clean Technologies

Green technology is an umbrella term that refers to the use of science and technology to create products and processes that are environmentally friendly for sustainable development. Clean technology refers to products or services that improve operational performance while reducing costs, energy consumption, waste or negative effects on the environment. These technologies can be used to protect the environment and in some instances repair damage done in the past. They provide the best ecofriendly option to ensure future sustainability. Such technologies include recycling of waste and use of renewable sources of energy solar, wind and geothermal energy.

Kenya has made some significant strides towards the adoption of green and clean technologies especially in the area of renewable energy. The country has been ranked as the largest producer of renewable energy in Africa with 70% of its electricity generation coming from renewable sources such as geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar sources. The government through the National Environment Management Authority imposed a ban on plastic carrier bags which has led to the use of eco-friendly nonwoven bags. Such measures are to be lauded since they offer significant promise in the country’s endeavour towards green and clean technologies. There is however need for more measures towards this endeavour such as the adoption of agricultural methods and technologies that are eco-friendly as opposed to the polluting and dangerous chemicals.

Climate Change Mitigation

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFFCC) defines climate change as change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activities which alter the composition of the global atmosphere and which are in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. Climate change has become a global concern in the 21st century and has been a dominant subject in political and scientific discussions. It is majorly caused by human activities that lead to atmospheric concentration of green-house gases such as burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and increase in carbon dioxide levels.

In order to curb this problem, nations under the Paris Agreement have come together under a common cause to undertake ambitious measures aimed at aimed at combating climate change and adapting to its effects. The Agreement is aimed at holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in recognition that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. The Agreement recognizes the role of science in climate change mitigation and calls upon states to adopt a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems.

Kenya like the rest of the world is faced with the threat of climate change. The Kenya National Adaptation Plan acknowledges the role of science, technology and innovations matched to local needs and risks towards climate change mitigation. It proposes thoughtful prioritization of research funding and policy to encourage innovation that will grow Kenya’s knowledge-based economy, building resilience through climate compatible development whilst also encouraging the expansion of technology and expertise exports. The country should be more proactive in adoption of technological and scientific measures aimed at curbing climate change such as the use of clean energy sources.

*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., Utilising Science and Technology for Environmental Management in Kenya, 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. 


Ali.M., Model of Green Technology Adaptation in Small and Medium –Sized Tannery Industry, Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 12 (4), 2017.

Huesemann. M.H., ‘Can Pollution Problems Be Effectively Solved by Environmental Science and Technology? An Analysis of Critical Limitations, Ecological Economics, Volume 37, Issue 2, May 2001, pg 271-287.

Human Rights Dimension of Covid-19 Response, available at human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response (accessed on 03/04/2020).

Hsiang Kung. W., The Role of Science in Environmental Protection: Is the Development of Environmental Law Toward More Protective and Productive Way, or Distorted to Inequality, Through the Involvement of Science? Available at: (accessed on 18/03/2020).

Juma. C., ‘Exponential Innovation and Human Rights: Implications for Science and Technology Diplomacy’, Science, Technology and Globalization, February, 2018.

Kamau. J., How Nairobi River Lost Pollution Battle, Daily Nation, Monday, August 19, 2019 65 De Luca. P et al, Industrial Waste Treatment by ETS-10 Ion Exchanger Material, available at 11/11/2316 (accessed on 28/03/2020).

Kenton. W., Green Tech, available at (accessed on 29/03/2020).

Kenya News Agency, New Push on Green Technologies, available at, accessed on 29/03/2020.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry, National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-2022, available at (accessed on 31/03/2020).

Moore. J.W et al, Towards Linking Environmental Law and Science, available at (accessed on 01/04/2020).

Muigua.K., Reconceptualising the Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment in Kenya, available at (accessed on 04/04/2020).

Muigua. K., Nurturing Our Environment for Sustainable Development, Glenwood Publishers Limited, 2016 74 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), United Nations, 1992, available at (accessed on 30/03/2020).

National Assembly Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Report on an Inquiry into Complaints of Environmental Pollution, available at default/files/2019-09/LDK%20REPORT_compressed.pdf, accessed on 28/03/2020.

National Environment Management Authority, 2 years on: Say no to plastic bags, available at (Accessed on 20/03/2020).

National Environment Management Authority, ‘The National Solid Waste Management Strategy’, available at Solid%20Waste%20 Management%20Strategy%20.pdf, accessed on 28/03/2020.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Factories Closed, Owners Arrested for Polluting Environment, available at &id=298: factories-closedowners-arrested-for-polluting-environment&catid=10:news-and-events&Itemid=454 (accessed on 06/04/2020).

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Green Initiatives in Kenya, available at (accessed on 29/03/2020).

National Environment Management Authority, Ban on Manufacture, Importation, Supply, Distribution and use of Plastic Carrier Bags in Kenya, available at _content&view=article&id=296&catid=2&Itemid=451 (accessed on 29/03/2020).

Nichols. M.R., ‘How Technology Can Save the Environment’ available at (accessed on 03/04/2020).

Owusu. P.A., & Asumadu-Sarkodie. S, A Review of Renewable Energy Sources, Sustainability Issues and Climate Change Mitigation, available at 2016.1167990?needAccess=true (accessed on 30/03/2020).

Srinivas. H., ‘Introduction: Technology and Environment’ available at introduction.html (accessed on 18/03/2020).

Voulvoulis.N., & Burgman.M.A., The Contrasting Roles of Science and Technology in Environmental Challenges, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 49, 2019, Issue 12.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Paris Agreement, 2015, available at f (accessed on 30/03/2020).

News & Analysis

Why is THE LAWYER AFRICA Listing Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers?




The Litigation Hall of Fame | Kenya in 2023 (The Most Distinguished 50 Litigation Lawyers in Kenya).

We live in the age of information overload where too much information (TMI) is increasingly making it difficult to find actionable legal data about a good law firm or lawyer. At the same time, legal services are increasingly going digital and finding your next lawyer is a now a matter of a few clicks. Many existing, new and potential clients are interested to know more about the lawyer handling or likely to handle their next case or transaction as every HR Manager seeks to know how their In-house Lawyer or next hire compares to peers.

The biggest dilemma especially for commercial consumers of legal services  is where to begin the journey in finding the law firm or the lawyer to meet their immediate legal need created by their new venture,  business, transaction or dispute. In-house counsel are also called upon to justify opting for one lawyer or law firm or over the other.  Hence, the rise in the popularity of international law directories rankings as an attempt to fill the yawning gap by listing a few dozen lawyers and law firms in esoteric categories that often don’t align with the legal needs of the domestic legal market.

But ranking two dozen elite lawyers or big law firms in a big jurisdiction like Kenya there are over 20,000 lawyers is merely a drop in the ocean. The result is the same candidates are listed year after year and an In-house Legal Team looking to infuse new blood in their external counsel panel is left very little discretion. At best, International legal ranking only succeed to tilt the scales in favour of few big firms and their lawyers and to aid the choice of International Legal buyers who are constrained for time in picking their External Counsel in jurisdictions where they cannot find referrals.

The questions that beg are: What about the other top law firms and lawyers who are equally good if not better but don’t have the time to fill the technical paperwork that comes with International Legal Directories rankings? What about Domestic Legal Buyers who simply want to justify why they prefer a lawyer or law firm not listed in the International Directory? Can increasing the number of listed lawyers or law firms from less 0.1% of the profession (as captured by International Law Directories) to at least 1% of the profession or higher for those specializing in the practice area help in enhancing access to justice in Africa? Can ranking law firms by number of fee earners help in the quest for a more accurate bird’s eye view of a country’s legal landscape?

At THE LAWYER AFRICA, we have set out to list Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers in the various practice areas in a way that democratizes law rankings and listings and brings this essential value add within reach of most lawyers and every law firms doing top legal work. We don’t promise to list all the top lawyers or law firms, but we commit to make sure every lawyer or law firm we list is at the top of the game in the listed practice area. We aim to help both little known and already known law firms and lawyers doing top legal work in their area of specialization get discovered by discerning clients and possibly get more opportunities to do great work.

THE LAWYER AFRICA is looking to list up to Top 200 Law Firms in every African Jurisdiction based on their reputation and number of fee earners headcount with a goal of listing at least Africa’s Top 1,000 Law Firms which are leaders in their respective countries. We also seek to list up to Top 1,000 Lawyers in every country in Africa in at least five main practice areas, namely, Litigation, Commercial Law, Property law, In-house and Private Sector or more.

THE LAWYER AFRICA categorizes law firms in large jurisdictions as Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 (and allow tying where number of counsel is equal). The Top Lawyers are listed in three categories, namely, Hall of Fame (the Distinguished Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area), Top 100 (the Leading Top 100 Practitioners in a Practice Area) and Up-and-Coming (the promising Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area).  The placing of a listings depends on a number of key factors including the number of key matters or transactions handled, years in practice and experience, size of team working under a counsel, reputation and opinion of peers (where available) as established by THE LAWYER AFRICA.

THE LAWYER AFRICA prefers to list a counsel in only one listing, as far as possible. The Team tries (as far as possible) not to contact listed law firms or lawyers before the listing is finalized in the first. However, a listed law firm or lawyer may be contacted at the pre-launch stage of a list for purposes of selling merchandise relating to the launch but such engagement will not affect the listing. In case of future listings, it is expected that interested lawyers or law firms who feel they were previously left out of the list may to provide information for consideration to determine if they qualify for the next listing but that will not guarantee any listing.

THE LAWYER AFRICA undertakes not to charge for listing any lawyer or law firm. However, upon publication of a listing, as part of recovering the sunk costs we incur in the research and publication of the listings, we shall charge a token for printing and shipping of Quality A3 Certificate for listed Law Firms and/or A4 Certificate for listed Lawyers who wish to have or display the branded souvenirs or to use our proprietary digital materials in their business  branding. We may also charge listed and unlisted law firms and lawyers an affordable fee for limited banner advertising or publishing of enhanced profiles next to the listings.

For any question or feedback on any list or listing, feel free to contact THE LAWYER AFRICA PUBLISHER at info[at]thelawyer[dot]africa.

Continue Reading

News & Analysis

The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

Continue Reading

News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb, Current Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Representing the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

Continue Reading