Kenya’s New Forest Policy and Bill
Challenges, Experiences and Lessons
Presented by
Gideon N Gathaara
Conservation Secretary
Ministry of Environment, Water and National Resources
During the 2014 Inter-Parliamentary Regional Hearing of
Exemplary Forest Policies in Africa
Nairobi, Kenya
Windsor Golf Country Club
1st-3rd October 2014
1.0 Background
• Development of the first comprehensive forest legislation was the
Forest Ordinance of 1942. Forest Policy in 1957, affirmed by Sessional
Paper No 1 of 1968
• Forest Ordinance was amended to Forests Act, Cap 385 in 1964.
• Legislation covered only the Protected Area System/ gazetted forest
• Laid more emphasis on reservation and protection of the PAS
• There was no provision for participatory forest management.
• Did not take full account for increasing tree cover and conservation of
natural forests and biodiversity.
• Communities felt alienated from ownership and benefits accruing
from the Protected Area System.
• Forest Act, 2005 has contributed to major reforms in the sector.
• Forest Policy and Bill, 2014 alingned to Constitution greatly build onto
these experiences
2.0 Challenges
a) Governance
• Inadequate understanding of regulatory mechanisms and poor
measures on law enforcement.
• Inadequate engagement of public participation and understanding of
PFM – the case of inadequate models and piloting, skills and capacity
• Equity in benefits sharing and lack of framework.
• Rights that empower communities and hold people accountable to
clean environment – sustainably managed forests
b) Devolution
• Clarity on devolved government; functions, linkages, coordination and
partnerships between national and county governments.
• Development of joint plans and agreements between national and
county governments
Challenges Cont’d
c) Research and Education Development
• Acquisition and application of knowledge and information for
promoting productivity, health, value addition and dryland tree
crops development.
• Inadequate investments in technology development.
• Weak certification: standards, criteria and indicators scheme.
• Development of capacity for sustainable utilization and
• Establishment of forestry curricula responsive to emerging issues.
• Professionalism advancement in forestry practice and standards.
• Inadequate capacity and mechanisms for engaging County
governments in development of forestry research on community
and private lands.
Challenges Cont’d
d) Trade and Industry
• Information on supply and demand of forest products processing
and value addition not readily available.
• Application of ban on timber and bamboo harvesting brings both
positive and negative impacts.
• Inadequate incentives to attract investments.
• Partnerships arrangements between timber industry and
commercial tree growers for supply and marketing.
• Low investments in efficient forest products processing.
• Domestication and application of International Standards for
Challenges Cont’d
e) Resource Mobilization
Policy and enforcement of laws essentially a service to the nation
(water, energy, environment sustainability, and resilience to
agriculture production and response to CC
• Commitment to service provision has resulted to overdependence on
public funding.
• Low valuation of forestry goods and services.
• Development and coordination of data bank and strategies on
integration or mainstreaming of forest issues in multi-sector
development programmes
• Human resources development f) Environmental Functions of Forests
• Inadequate models on mechanisms on Payments for Ecosystem
Services not well defined.
• Secure management of water catchment-landscape approach yet to
be accomplished.
Challenges Cont’d
g) Climate Change
• Forests and agriculture contribute to 30% GHG Emission but also
contribute to carbon sequestration
• Untapped potential of role of forestry in transition to Green Economy
as well as in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
• Inadequate information and research on impacts of climate change
on forest resources and biodiversity.
h) Monitoring and Evaluation
• Lack of adequate monitoring system information on: change in types
and areas of forests, demand and supply and achievement of national
forestry targets.
3.0 Experiences and Lessons
a) Importance of Information, Research and Analysis
Policy and legislation development is based on comprehensive
programmes, plans and studies that provided detailed information
analysis, among them:
 In 1994 Kenya Forest Master Plan led to 1st draft Forest Policy & Bill.
 Forest Policy and Bill subjected to SEA before enactment of Forest
Act, 2005. Important comments generated and added value to the
 Governance Study on the Forest Sector, 2012.
 Cross cutting issues study in mainstreaming gender and youth,
undertaken in 2012.
 National Forest Programme formulation, 2014 is ongoing.
Experiences and Lessons Cont’d
b) Synergy and Harmonization with other Laws
• Concurrent development of NFP, Forest Policy and Bill accord
necessary harmonization and synergy.
• NFP, simplified approach in comparison to KFMP, shall be the focus
of coordinating forest sector investments by all stakeholders.
• Forest Act, 2005 incorporated early drafts of the constitution and
harmonized with other policies and legislation - land, water,
• Aligning Forest Policy and Bill with Constitution made easier:
Governance - National values, integrity, sustainability, rights,
incentives and benefits, access to information,
Experiences and Lessons Cont’d
c) Expansion in Scope, High Targets and Standards
Kenya’s Constitution, 2010 accords the Forest Policy and Bill expanded
scope that covers all forest types in public, community and private
The Forest Policy and Bill take into account the importance of forests:
 In soil and ground water stabilization in supporting reliable agriculture.
 In protecting water catchments in Kenya.
 In response to Climate Change.
 As the major biodiversity sink sources and critical habitats for wildlife.
Experiences and Lessons Cont’d
• Key stakeholders - local committees, public, civil society private
sector - are recognized in formulation and implementation of Forest
Policy and Bill.
• Parliament control on land use change and compliance with EMCA –
application of EIA has greatly enhanced conservation/protection
• Management of all forests based on approved management plans.
• Stakeholders involved in Participatory Forest Management Plans.
• Gazetted rules and guidelines shall provide basis for preparing and
enforcing implementation of MP.
• Provision in the constitution on sustainable forest management,
setting targets to establish a 10% forest cover of Kenya’s land and
right to clean environment, raised the profile of forest agenda.
• Devolution: National government responsible for capacity building,
Experiences and Lessons Cont’d
d) Stakeholders Participation
• Public consultations provided in the Constitution, Policy and Bill
empower stakeholders engagement of in forestry development.
• Stakeholders have taken many matters to court based on Forest Act,
2005. Lessons learnt have contributed to improved Forest Bill.
• Community Forest Associations & Forest Conservation Committees
e) Incentives and Benefits Sharing on Tree Cover Increase
• A facility established to provide financial and technical support for:
community programmes, Payment for Ecosystem Services etc
• The bill provides a comprehensive framework for developing
subsidiary legislation -- regulations and guidelines
• Piloting in some parts of the country is taking place with success.
4.0 Deepening Reforms
• Forest Act, 2005 provided framework for major reforms implemented
under a new institutional framework.
• An independent Semi Autonomous Government Agency – KFS: Board, FCC,
and support to over 300 CFAs.
• Forest Policy & Bill, 2014 provide framework for deepening reforms and
incorporating emerging issues in the forest sector :CC, Constitution
 Aligning and compliance with the constitution and V2030.
 Incorporating Climate Change.
 NFP development and implementation will strength coordinated
investments and stakeholders participation in the forest sector.
5.0 Opportunities
a) Role of the forest sector in transition to a green economy is
recognized internationally; Kenya’s CCP and B, NCCRS, NCCAP, GE
Strategy recognize role of Kenya Forests in transition to GE & CC.
b) Climate change provides both a challenge and opportunity:
• CC impacts heavily on forest sector while both forestry and
agriculture sectors contribute 30% of GHG emissions in Kenya.
• There is need for turning challenge into an opportunity by increasing
tree cover for enhancing capacity for carbon sequestration.
c) Carbon Finance
• Public financing remains a major challenge to the government.
• Carbon Finance and Carbon Trade offer an alternative source of
• Harmonizing Forest Bill, CCP and B, and Carbon Finance Policy and
fast tracking REDD+ and SLEEK offer a great opportunity.
6.0 Recommendations and Conclusion
•Development of Forest Policy and Bill is a lengthy process which
required patience, commitment, innovativeness, flexibility and
comprehensive participation of all stakeholders.
•Involvement of local communities is cost-effective in conservation
• Building of trust and partnerships among stakeholders offer the
greatest opportunity for developing high quality policy and legislation
intended for greatest impact in national development and far reaching
transformation of the lives of the people.
•Collaboration among: the executive (MEW&NR), legislature (Senate
and National Assembly Committees on Natural Resources), Judiciary,
civil society, private sector, development partners, and local
communities has made great progress in developing the Forest Policy
and Bill.
•Collaboration at regional and international levels – WFC and African
countries in this case - will further enhance this effort.

Kenyas New Forest Policy and Bill