Role of Devolved Governance in Enhancing Incentives in Participatory Forest Management in Kenya

Joram K. Kagombe, MTE Mbuvi, Joshua K. Cheboiwo


Natural resource management in East Africa has been centrally managed for a long period. However, recent initiation of decentralized system has been erratic and it is only recently, it has been undertaken systematically with supporting legislation and political will. In Kenya, the past natural resources policies and laws emphasized the role of the government in the management of these resources. Communities and other stakeholders were given nominal roles with minimal benefits. Community participation was introduced by Forests Act, 2005 through Community Forest Association and Water Act, 2002 by providing for Water Users Association. Despite the communities continued participation, they are yet to benefit fully from their participation. The government has remained the major beneficiary of natural resources. The inequity can be addressed by bringing on board the Constitution of Kenya 2010 Article 69 (1) and (2) that clearly spells out that the people of Kenya should benefit equitably from the sustainable exploitation, utilization and management of natural resources and at the same time, work to conserve and protect these resources. The constitution expects that costs and benefits in managing natural resources should be shared among the state natural resources managers and the citizens. This paper reviews current Participatory Forest Management framework, experiences and provides for a best scenario arrangement that will promote equity in cost and benefits sharing in management of natural resources. The review addresses; incentives available under PFM and how they can be enhanced for benefit to central government, county government, community and other stakeholders. Additionally, it provides a scenario of how value addition to traditional benefits from the forests and payment for environmental services, for products like water, biodiversity, ecotourism and at the international level for carbon credits through facilities like Reducing Emission through Deforestation and Degradation and other climate change initiatives could be institutionalized to enhance benefits. Devolved governance shall increase incentives to better manage natural resources if it shall provide an equitable balance between livelihoods and forest management, and between national government, local government, communities and other stakeholders.

Key words: Devolvement, Incentives, Participation, Benefits, community, management

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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