6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are?

The Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) of 1999 provides a comprehensive legislative framework for the management of the environment in the country. The legislation provided for the creation of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), a competent authority mandated to safeguard and enhance environmental quality through coordination, research, facilitation and enforcement. The organization has an important responsibility coordinating the preparation of Environmental Action Plans (EAPs) at district, provincial and national levels. The country has also ratified and domesticated various multilateral environmental agreements.

The Government has developed various national and sector plans to integrate environmental concerns into development planning in Kenya, e.g. Vision 2030, Medium Term Plan 2008-2012, and the Environment, Water and Sanitation sector plan for 2008-2012. In addition, environmental education and awareness creation continue to be undertaken countrywide.

The Government has also developed a national climate change response strategy. Regulations have been developed and are being implemented on environmental management e.g. Air Quality 2009, Ozone Depleting Substances 2007, Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)/Environmental Audit (EA) 2003, Noise Control and Vibration 2009, and Biodiversity 2006.

Forest cover in the country has continued to decrease due to enormous forest invasion. For instance, between 1990 and 2005 the proportion of forested land in sub-Saharan Africa dropped by 3% from 29% to 26%. At the same time Kenya's proportion of forested land decreased by 0.3 per cent10. Furthermore, between 1990 and 2003, 186,000 ha of forest land was converted to other uses. If this trend continues, the country will experience great loss in biodiversity, with irreversible consequences for ecosystem services, food security, and tourism, all of which make significant contributions to the Kenyan economy.

Recent efforts by the government to restore forest cover in the country include the aggressive effort to reclaim 25,000 hectares of illegally settled land in the Mau Forest Complex. The Forest Mainstreaming Initiative was also launched in 2009 to integrate the principles of sustainable development in the country's policies and programmes through establishment of a satellite Forestry Resource Account for Kenya.

However, these good initiatives face serious challenges as many poor households depend on forests for wood fuel. It is in this respect that the country must factor in the cost of household energy into the MDGs.


Targets for MDG7
  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest and proportion of species threatened with extinction
    • CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
    • Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
    • Proportion of total water resources used
    • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
    • Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
    • Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
  4. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of urban population living in slums