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Legal, Policy and Institutional Framework for Gender Equality 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 and Author of the Kenya’s First ESG Book: Embracing Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) tenets for Sustainable Development” (Glenwood, Nairobi, July 2023).

Kenya has been on a journey towards achieving gender equality and equity, a goal that has remained elusive over the years. There have been policies aimed at promoting the same and they have always been reviewed or replaced by new ones in a bid to improve on the framework and address any gaps. There have been positive steps that have been realized along the way such as recognition of equality of men and women rights to own property or inherit property and fair labour practices, among others. Despite this, Kenya cannot boast of an impressive track record as gender inequality is still manifest.

Constitution of Kenya 2010

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 was the culmination of the recognition of the need to streamline gender issues in the country’s development agenda. It not only guarantees equality and nondiscrimination of all persons regardless of gender, but also has outlined some remedial measures to address the existing inequality in the country. It forms the basis of all other efforts since the year 2010.

National Policy on Gender and Development, 2000

Notably, the first National Policy on Gender and Development was adopted in 2000 and was meant to provide a legitimate point of reference for addressing gender inequalities at all levels of government and by all stakeholders, and further provided an avenue for gender mainstreaming across all sectors in order to generate efficient and equitable development outcomes for all Kenyans. The National Policy on Gender and Development of 2000 has since been reviewed in order to align it to the new legal framework including the Constitution of Kenya. This was superseded by the Sessional Paper No. 2 of 2006 on Gender Equality and Development which was meant to promote women empowerment and mainstreaming the needs of women, men, girls and boys in all sectors of development in Kenya so that they can participate and benefit equally from development initiatives.

National Policy for Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence, 2014

The National Policy for Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence’s main purpose was to put in place a framework to accelerate implementation of laws, policies and programmes for prevention and response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) by state and non – state actors for the realization of a society where men, women, boys and girls are free from all forms violence. This Policy sought to achieve the following objectives: to facilitate a coordinated approach in addressing GBV and to ensure effective programming; to improve enforcement of laws and policies towards GBV prevention and response; to increase access to quality and comprehensive support services across sectors; and to improve sustainability of GBV prevention and response interventions. The Policy also acknowledged that while it is women and girls who suffer the greatest share of GBV in the country, men and boys also experience the same. Land Laws such as the Land Act and Land Registration Act acknowledge the right of women to acquire, inherit and hold or dispose land. However, the reality on the ground is that women and girls are still being dispossessed of property especially when it comes to inheritance.

National Gender and Equality Commission

The National Gender and Equality Commission is established under the National Gender and Equality Commission Act, 2011 which was enacted to establish the National Gender and Equality Commission as a successor to the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission pursuant to Article 59(4) of the Constitution; to provide for the membership, powers and functions of the Commission, and for connected purposes. The functions of the Commission are, inter alia, to: promote gender equality and freedom from discrimination in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution; monitor, facilitate and advise on the integration of the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination in all national and county policies, laws, and administrative regulations in all public and private institutions; act as the principal organ of the State in ensuring compliance with all treaties and conventions ratified by Kenya relating to equality and freedom from discrimination and relating to special interest groups including minorities and marginalized persons, women, persons with disabilities, and children; and co-ordinate and facilitate mainstreaming of issues of gender, persons with disability and other marginalised groups in national development and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof.

State Department for Gender Affairs

The State Department for Gender Affairs falls under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs. The Ministry of Public Service and Gender was created under the re-organization of the National Government in November 2015. The mandate of the State Department of Gender is hinged on the Constitution of Kenya and Executive Order of June, 2018. It is responsible for: Gender Policy Management; Special Programmes for Women Empowerment; Gender Mainstreaming in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); Community Mobilization; Domestication of International Treaties and Conventions on Gender; and Policy and Programmes on Gender Violence.

Gender and Development in Kenya: The Challenges

The 2014 National Policy for Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence identified the following as the greatest contributing factors to GBV in Kenya: unequal power relations between men and women; socio-cultural norms that normalize GBV, discriminatory practices and changing gender roles; poverty; illiteracy; breakdown of the family unit and support systems; insecurity; alcohol and substance abuse; uncensored media content; and conflict; political instability as well as poor enforcement of laws and policies. While it is worthy pointing out that the 2014 Policy was geared towards dealing with GBV, the above factors contribute to much more than just GBV; they hamper the equal participation of both men and women in development matters in the country. Indeed, one of the guiding principles of the 2014 Policy was recognition of the importance of gender equity and gender equality in national development.

In the Matter of the Principle of Gender Representation in the National Assembly and the Senate [2012]eKLR, the advisory opinion related to two discrete elements in respect of which the Attorney-General thus moved the Court: “The Advisory Opinion of the Court is sought on the following issues: A. Whether Article 81(b) as read with Article 27(4), Article 27(6), Article 27(8), Article 96, Article 97, Article 98, Article 177(1) (b), Article 116 and Article 125 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya require progressive realization of the enforcement of the one-third gender rule or requires the same to be implemented during the general elections scheduled for 4th March, 2013? B. Whether an unsuccessful candidate in the first round of Presidential election under Article 136 of the Constitution or any other person is entitled to petition the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the first round of the said election under Article 140 or any other provision of the Constitution?”

Regarding the one-third gender rule, the Attorney-General moved the Supreme Court seeking an opinion as to whether the terms of Article 81(b) apply in respect of the very next general elections, to be held on 4 March 2013, or on the contrary, apply progressively over an extended period of time. The Supreme Court observed as follows: [47] This Court is fully cognisant of the distinct social imperfection which led to the adoption of Articles 27(8) and 81(b) of the Constitution: that in elective or other public bodies, the participation of women has, for decades, been held at bare nominal levels, on account of discriminatory practices, or gender-indifferent laws, policies and regulations. This presents itself as a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women in Kenyan society. Learned counsel Ms. Thongori aptly referred to this phenomenon as “the socialization of patriarchy”; and its resultant diminution of women’s participation in public affairs has had a major negative impact on the social terrain as a whole. Thus, the Constitution sets out to redress such aberrations, not just through affirmative action provisions such as those in Articles 27 and 81, but also by way of a detailed and robust Bill of Rights, as well as a set of “national values and principles of governance” [Article 10].

While there was no unanimous decision on whether implementation of the one-third Two-thirds gender rule was to be realized immediately or progressively, Kenya is still grappling with the question of gender representation in the elective posts in Kenya, with the recent advisory opinion from the Chief Justice directed to the President on the need to dissolve Parliament for failure to uphold the gender equity constitutional requirements complicating the debate even further. The Deputy Chief Justice has since appointed a special bench of judges to decide on the constitutional status of the advisory opinion as issued by the Chief justice. The upshot of the above is that despite Kenya’s progressive constitutional and statutory framework on achieving gender mainstreaming, the country is far from enjoying gender equality and equity especially in relation to women’s position in leadership and national development roles, with representation of women in Kenya’s Parliament remaining minimal over the years despite the promulgation of the current Constitution of Kenya in 2010.

Indeed, despite its leading economic position in the East African region, Kenya ranks the lowest among the East African countries when it comes to the place of women in leadership positions. For instance, in 2016, it was reported that women held 64 percent of seats in the lower house of Rwanda’s national legislature, the largest share of any country. However, despite this commendable state of affairs in Rwanda, there are conflicting reports on the status of women rights in everyday life, with some reporters saying that the political state of affairs is very different from every day community life of women in Rwanda. It is therefore possible to have a politically empowered group of men and women but without guaranteeing them enjoyment of other fundamental rights. As things stand, it is therefore safe to argue that the problem of gender inequality and inequity in Kenya goes beyond availability of statutory and constitutional framework. It is for this reason that the 2019 National Policy on Gender and Development was drafted in order to enable the stakeholders take practical steps towards addressing the existing challenges.

*This is article is an extract from an article “Actualizing the National Policy on Gender and Development in Kenya,” by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, 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 Permanent Court of Arbitration nominated by Republic of Kenya and Member of National Environment Tribunal (NET). 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 Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates and Africa Trustee Emeritus of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 2019-2023. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Band 1 in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022 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.

References

Flowe, H. D., and Others, “Sexual and Other Forms of Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency in Kenya.” (2020), available at: https://psyarxiv.com/7wghn/ (Accessed on 16 September 2023).

In the Matter of the Principle of Gender Representation in the National Assembly and the Senate [2012]eKLR, Advisory Opinions Application 2 of 2012.

Jagoe, K., and Others, “Sharing the burden: Shifts in family time use, agency and gender dynamics after introduction of new cookstoves in rural Kenya.” Energy Research & Social Science 64 (2020): 101413.

Kenya Law, ‘Chief Justice’s Advice to the President on Dissolution of Parliament for Failure to Enact the Gender Rule,’ Available at: http://kenyalaw.org/kenyalawblog/chief-justices-advice-to-the-president-on-dissolution-of-parliament/ (Accessed on 16 September 2023).

KEWOPA, ‘Actualization and Implementation of the “Two-Thirds Gender Principle” in Kenya, Available at: http://www.kewopa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/TwoThirdsJourneyReport.pdf (Accessed on 16 September 2023).

Muigua, K., “Actualizing the National Policy on Gender and Development in Kenya,” Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2020/ 10/Actualising-the-National-Policy-on-Gender-and-Development-in-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-Ph.D-October-2020.pdf (Access on 16th September 2023)

National Gender and Equality Commission Act, 2011, Laws of Kenya.

Njogu, K., and Orchardson-Mazrui, E., “Gender inequality and women’s rights in the Great Lakes: Can culture contribute to women’s empowerment.” New York: UNICEF (2013).

Ogila, J., ‘DCJ Mwilu Forms Five-Judge Bench to Hear Maraga’s Parliament Dissolution Advice’ (The Standard) https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/nairobi/article/2001390110/mwilu-forms-judge-bench-to-hear-cjs-parliament-dissolution-advice (Accessed on 16 September 2023).

Osoro, J., ‘5 Judges Appointed to Hear Petitions on CJ Advise to Uhuru to Dissolve Parliament » Capital News’ (Capital News, 14 October 2020), Available at: https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2020/10/5-judges-appointed-to-hear-petitions-on-cj-advise-to-uhuru-to-dissolve-parliament/ (Accessed on 16 September 2023).

Republic of Kenya, Sessional Paper No. 02 of 2019 on National Policy on Gender and Development, October 2019.

Republic of Kenya, National Policy for Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence, November, 2014, http://psyg.go.ke/docs/National%20Policy%20on%20prevention%20and%20Response%20to% 20Gender%20Based %20Violence.pdf (Accessed on 16 September 2023).

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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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