Avid environmental conservationists in Kenya have a lot to be thrilled after the marking of this year’s World Forest Day celebrations that took place at the Yaaku Cultural Centre next to Mukogodo – Nanyuki County, on 21st March. The setting of the event was Mukogodo Forest, one of East Africa’s few indigenous forests, and the venue perfect to celebrate strides made in forest conservation as well as raise awareness on the importance that forests play in ecosystems across the globe.
According to the United Nations, forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, supporting the livelihood of approximately 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures. It is for this reason that the UN General Assembly purposefully set aside March 21 so that platforms across the world can discuss how to conserve forests as well as develop mitigating strategies that address the destruction of forests.
Public participation has become an essential part of implementing sustainable governance in wildlife conservation which has enhanced transparency, accountability as well as given much needed guidance to conservation. This is a global trend and Kenya is quickly adopting this best practice in an effort to ensure that the country’s irreplaceable wildlife heritage is preserved. It is in this respect that KWS has been conducting public hearings to get the views and opinions of the public concerning the subsidiary regulations. These regulations will guide the implementation of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 (WCMA) which came into force on January 10th 2014. These subsidiary regulations include Bio-Prospecting; Regulations on Compensation; Regulation of effective management of Wetlands; Wildlife Research; Access, Incentives and Benefit Sharing and Wildlife Security Operations.