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Kenya plan legal reforms to tackle environmental degradation 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is planning a series of legal reforms in order to tackle environmental degradation, officials said on Tuesday.

Nicholas Muraguri, Principal Secretary in Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, told a land forum in Nairobi that some of the laws to be revised include the Agriculture Food and Fisheries Act, Climate Change Act and the Forestry Act.

“The aim of the reforms is to ensure Kenya achieves sustainable management of land resources in line with the National Development Blueprint Vision 2030 as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Muraguri said during the launch of the Technical Implementation committee on the National Land Use Policy.

The committee is expected to begin implementation of the national land use policy in the first quarter of 2019.

Muraguri said that the national land use policy sets out the long term goals on land use management by incorporating all activities that are likely to have an impact on the use of land and its resources.

“The policy is also important in addressing issues of optimal utilization of land and land related resources by providing principles and guidelines,” he added.

Muraguri said that Kenya faces challenges of environmental degradation including pollution of water, air and the land resources.

He added that the proposed legal and policy reforms will help curb cultivation on slopes, encroachment into wetlands, overgrazing as well as use of inappropriate agricultural technologies.

Muraguri said that lack of proper planning has resulted in the reduction in the sizes of land holdings especially in the high productive farming zones leading to low agricultural productivity.

He observed that other effects of poor land use planning include soil erosion, overstocking and climate change which had resulted in the reduction of pastures and water supply in the rangelands.

Arthur Mbatia, a senior physical planner in Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, said that the country is currently experiencing major problems of proliferation of urban settlements, insecurity and declining health standards as a result of rapid urbanization.

Mbatia said that in order to promote sustainable urban development and management, the government shall undertake an audit and map out the number and location of informal settlements as well as provide security of land tenure.

Mbatia said the indiscriminate extension of urban boundaries has brought within them population clusters living in areas of land which are still used predominantly for agricultural and livestock purposes.

The ministry of lands and physical planning plans to address the low vegetation cover in order to promote environmental conservation.

Timothy Mwangi, deputy director of physical planning, ministry of lands and physical planning, said that Kenya is endowed with a rich biodiversity but its natural resource and environment is threatened with various challenges including the destruction of habitat.

Mwangi noted that in order to preserve its environment, the government will enforce application of land use guidelines on biodiversity and invasive species.



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