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Legal and Institutional Framework for Food and Nutrition Security 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 Publisher of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

Law and regulations are key tools in the conservation of environmental and biological resources because they define rights and responsibilities and function as a deterrent to individuals who would engage in actions that harm these resources. The law establishes the required framework within which all stakeholders can collaborate in the conservation of natural resources, both for the sake of the environment and to meet human needs. The international and regional legal instruments on biodiversity conservation recognize biodiversity’s potential to aid in the achievement of various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to food systems, as it is clear that global food production improvements are failing to meet human nutrition needs and feed the planet in a healthy, sustainable, and environmentally friendly manner.

The legal and institutional framework for food and nutrition security includes the Crop Act 2013, Seeds and Plant Varieties Act Cap 326, Biosafety Act 2009, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service Act, 2012 and Environmental Management and Co-Ordination (Conservation of Biological Diversity and Resources, and Access to Genetic Resources and Benefits Sharing) Regulations, 2006.

The Crops Act 2013

The Crops Act 2013 under Section 8 provides that Agriculture and Food Authority shall in consultation with the National Biosafety Authority, advise the government on the introduction, safe transfer, handling and use of genetically modified species of plants and organisms in the country; establish experimental stations and seed farms for the development of varieties suitable to the agro-climatic conditions of the area and markets that will provide greatest value added to scheduled crops. The Genetic Resources Research Institute (GeRRI), under the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Act of 2013, and a semi-autonomous research Institute, is responsible for conserving plant genetic resources, animal and microbial genetic resources.

Under the Food Security Bill, 2015, the National and county governments shall to the extent of their constitutional mandate promote the physical and economic access to adequate food of acceptable quality; in ensuring that, the National government fulfils its obligations under subsection (l), the Authority shall promote traditional and other practices and technologies of food production that ensure the conservation of biodiversity. Notably, the structure of the food economy as a whole, as well as its components including agricultural output, technology, food processing diversity, markets, and consumption, all have an impact on food system resilience.

The functions of the Authority shall be to-promote measures to improve security and access to land and water resources and the optimum and sustainable utilization of these resources promote diversification and the use of alternative methods of agriculture and livestock Systems and the production of diverse food crops to mitigate against drought and other climatic conditions that negatively impact food production; The functions of a county food security committee shall be to initiate, undertake and participate in the collection, preparation, production and dissemination of data and information on food security and nutrition in the county.

Seeds and Plant Varieties Act, Cap 326

This is an Act of Parliament to confer power to regulate transactions in seeds, including provision for the testing and certification of seeds, for the establishment of an index of names of plant varieties, to empower the imposition of restriction on the introduction of new varieties, to control the importation of seeds, to authorize measures to prevent injurious cross-pollination, to provide for the grant of proprietary rights to persons breeding or discovering and developing new varieties, to establish a national centre for plant genetic resources and to establish a Tribunal to hear appeals and other proceedings and for connected purposes.56 This Act establishes a National Plant Genetic Resources Centre which shall be responsible for the conservation and sustainable utilization of plant biodiversity in Kenya.

Biosafety Act, 2009

Biosafety Act, 2009 is an Act of Parliament to regulate activities in genetically modified organisms, to establish the National Biosafety Authority, and for connected purposes. The objectives of this Act include to facilitate responsible research into and minimize the risks that may be posed by genetically modified organisms; to ensure an adequate level of protection for the safe transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms that may have an adverse effect on the health of the people and the environment and to establish a transparent, science-based and predictable process for reviewing and making decisions on the transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms and related activities.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service Act, 2012

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service Act is an Act of Parliament to establish the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service as a regulatory body for the protection of plants, seeds and plant varieties and agricultural produce, to be responsible for administering several other written laws and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.

Environmental Management and Co-Ordination (Conservation of Biological Diversity and Resources, And Access to Genetic Resources and Benefits Sharing) Regulations, 2006

The Environmental Management and Co-Ordination (Conservation of Biological Diversity and Resources, And Access to Genetic Resources and Benefits Sharing) Regulations, 2006 are to apply to access to genetic resources or parts of genetic resources, whether naturally occurring or naturalised, including genetic resources bred for or intended for commercial purposes within Kenya or for export, whether in in-situ conditions or ex-situ conditions. The Regulations shall, however, not apply to- the exchange of genetic resources, their derivative products, or the intangible components associated with them, carried out by members of any local Kenyan community amongst themselves and for their own consumption; access to genetic resources derived from plant breeders in accordance with the Seeds and Plant Varieties Act, Cap 326; human genetic resources; and approved research activities intended for educational purposes within recognized Kenyan academic and research institutions, which are governed by relevant intellectual property laws.

The Regulations require Environmental Impact Assessment for activities that may: have an adverse impact on any ecosystem; lead to the introduction of any exotic species; or lead to unsustainable use of natural resources. The Regulations also require the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), in consultation with the relevant lead agencies, to impose bans, restrictions or similar measures on the access and use of any threatened species in order to ensure its regeneration and maximum sustainable yield as a way to conserve threatened species. NEMA is also tasked with, in consultation with the relevant lead agencies, to identity and prepare an inventory of biological diversity of Kenya, which should include threatened, endangered, or rare species.

*This article is an extract from the Article: Biodiversity Mainstreaming for Food and Nutrition Security in Kenya 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.


Muigua, K., “Biodiversity Mainstreaming for Food and Nutrition Security in Kenya,” (KMCO, 2021) Available at: 2021/12/ Biodiversity-Mainstreaming-for-Food-and-Nutrition-Security-in-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-December-2021.pdf (accessed on 05/04/2022).

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.

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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)

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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).

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