EAC States meet to address riparian resources

Counties Editor's Pick Environment Kisumu

The Government has developed legislation to tame encroachment on riparian land and wetlands in the country.

Environment Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko, said the law which is before the Cabinet, targets to reclaim all riparian land which has been grabbed, at the same time protect the areas as the country grapples with climate change effects.

The law, he added, outlines what riparian land is and measures to be taken to repossess, reclaim and restore all riparian resources.

“What we have now is a multiplicity of law, but this law is going to help us define and harmonize all riparian resources in the country,” he said.

Encroachment on riparian land, he added, remains a big challenge in the country with rising water levels causing massive destruction along the shores of key water bodies.

A number of the grabbed parcels, he disclosed, have been reclaimed adding that once the new legislation is enacted, proper mechanisms to manage the areas shall be enforced.

Speaking in Kisumu during the Lake Victoria Basin Development Commission (LVBC) 21st meeting of the Sectoral Committee of Ministers, Tobiko said the encroachment has come with rampant pollution which threatens the ecosystem.

The Government, he added, has made great strides in restoration of forests and championing climate change initiatives.

“We have developed a Climate Change Act, Climate Change Policy and Climate Financing Law. We are now in the process of developing carbon legislation,” he revealed.

The country’s forest cover, he disclosed, has increased from 5.9 per cent in 2018 to 8.8 per cent in 2022, adding that through partnership with County Governments the percentage was bound to increase.

The meeting brought together Ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, to deliberate on issues affecting the environment in the lake basin.

Tobiko said the East African Community (EAC) member states, have embarked on formulation of Transboundary Resources Management policies.

This, he said, targets to have in place climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, integrated water resource management and land and ecosystem restoration.

By Chris Mahandara

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