12 April 2005

Kenya: MPs Urged to Pass Law On Forests

Nairobi — Donors yesterday pressed for the Forest Bill - which Parliament rejected last year - to be passed.

They also recommended better laws on wildlife, saying poaching and the bush meat trade were rising again.

"Lack of incentives for communities to conserve wildlife, coupled with increased human population, has led to increased human-wildlife conflict," they said.

In a report at the Consultative Group (CG) meeting at Nairobi's Safari Park Hotel, they praised the Environment ministry for laying various strategies to ensure efficiency.

Minister Kalonzo Musyoka and assistant minister Wangari Maathai were praised as key players in protecting the environment.

They singled out Prof Maathai for praise for receiving the Nobel Peace prize.

"The development partners congratulate this achievement and note that the award also highlighted the importance of environmental resources to Kenya's people and economy," they said.

The two-day meeting, opened by President Kibaki, brought together donors and the Government to review implementation of programmes aimed at economic development.

The ministry had been implementing the Environment Management and Coordination Act, while the National Environment Management Authority had been performing its role as regulator with renewed vigour, the donor statement read.

It recommended an appropriate charcoal policy and environmental assessment in local authorities for better management of waste.

Although reform on forest sector started with great vigour, they noted, the process appeared to have lost momentum.

"Lack of Government resources for restructuring means that the process is entirely donor-dependent and raises issues of Government ownership and commitment," the statement read.

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