The National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC) is established under section 31 to 36 of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, 1999 (No. 5 of 2015) with the mandate to investigate allegations or complaint regarding the condition of the environment in Kenya, or on its own motion, suspected cases of environmental degradation.
On 20th March 2019 to 24th March 2019, The Committee was engaged in celebration of International Day of Forests, Public Participation on National Bamboo Draft Policy, 2019 and the celebrations of World Meteorological Day in Counties of Siaya and Vihiga respectively. The Committee was actively in attendance of the Draft policy forum that took place at Sosa cottages, Vihiga County. The forum drew various National Government Agencies, County Government, Private Sectors and the communities, CS for MEF being the chief guest. There were also few bamboo products exhibitions that were toured by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry o Environment and Forestry.
The programme for stakeholders’ aimed at public participation on draft National Bamboo Policy, comments on the proposed review of the draft National Forest Policy and amendments on the Forest Conservation And Management Act,2016.
Preliminaries and Opening Remarks
The meeting started at 9am and with a word of prayer, followed by brief introductions chaired by representative of KEFRI. She then invited Prof. Paul Ongugo to make presentation of the draft bamboo policy. Prof. Ongugo did the presentation with a lot of emphasis on the policy statements as an area that required greater concentration. He appreciated the presence of the CS in the session in relation to the proposed policy statements.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry, Mr. Keriako Tobiko in his remarks called on leading agencies to unmask the growing of bamboo, which had immense economic benefits to the Country. He also called for the stakeholders to immediately roll out of a program to sensitize the public on the importance of the bamboo industry, lamenting that, it was regrettable the Country lagged in bamboo growing, while neighboring Countries who benchmarked in Kenya three decades ago on initiating the trade, were now enjoying the benefits of a vibrant industry.
In his closing remarks, The CS urged environment agencies to quickly finalize a concept note strategy and policy on bamboo growing to be presented to the Cabinet and Parliament for approval, urging them to link scientific research, action and the community input to ensure successful implementation of the progrmme. He urged the drafters to incorporate the impact of bamboo growing to Vision 2030, MTP III, Sustainable Development Goals, the big 4 agenda and the Nationally Determined contribution to Climate Change, and commended the Kenya Forestry Research Institute and collaborating partners for their diligent work in introducing 22 new bamboo varieties that could be grown in the various parts of the Country.
Mr. Tobiko called on Kenyans to embrace bamboo growing, adding that, each part of the Country was now able to plant appropriate varieties according to the latest research findings.
Addressing the stakeholders, Vihiga County Governor, H.E. Hon. Wilber Ottichilo called on the National Government to operationalize the Climate Change Fund to be disbursed to various agencies including the Counties, in order to promote bamboo growing in a bid to mitigate against the effects of climate change on the ecosystems. He urged individuals, private sectors and CBO’s to embrace Bamboo growing in the area as his Government is ready to promote the lucrative plant.
In his remarks, Dr. Chumo supported the formulation of the bamboo policy. Emphasizing on the mandate of the committee, he said the committee would gladly preach to the public that bamboo plantation on riparian land is a good initiative in reclaiming the degraded ones. The issue of eucalyptus planted on wetland areas has been one of the persistent complaints received from the public. Going forward, he proposed that eucalyptus planted on wetland areas should quickly be replaced by the Bamboo.
The forum attracted hundreds of participants from the public, government, non-governmental organizations and the civil society, was also attended by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry, Hon. Mohammed Elmi, the County Commissioner, Vihiga, Susan Waweru and Departmental heads from the Ministry.