The Government has developed a law to tame encroachment on riparian land and wetlands in the country.
The legislation, which is before the Cabinet, targets to reclaim all riparian land which has been grabbed, at the same time protect the areas as the country grapples with climate change effects.
Environment Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko, said the law outlines what riparian land is and the measures to be taken to repossess, reclaim and restore all riparian resources.
“What we now have is a multiplicity of law, but this law is going to help us define and harmonize all riparian resources in the country,” he said when he chaired the 21st meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers for the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB-SECOM) in Kisumu.
The LVB-SECOM is the governing body of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) mandated to provide overall policy guidance and oversight of the commission.
Encroachment on riparian land, he added, remains a big challenge in the country and has come with rampant pollution which threatens the ecosystem with rising water levels causing massive destruction along the shores of key water bodies.
However, he said, a number of the grabbed parcels have already been reclaimed, adding that once the new legislation is enacted, proper mechanisms to manage the areas shall be enforced.
The Government, he added, has made great strides in the restoration of forests and championing climate change initiatives.
“We have developed a Climate Change Act, Climate Change Policy and Climate Financing Law. We are now in the process of developing carbon legislation,” he said.
At the same time, the country’s forest cover has increased from 5.9 per cent in 2018 to 8.8 per cent in 2022, the CS said, adding that through a partnership with County Governments the percentage was bound to increase.
The meeting brought together Ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, to deliberate on issues affecting the environment in the lake basin.
Tobiko said the East African Community (EAC) member states, have embarked on the formulation of Transboundary Resources Management policies.
This, he said, aims to have in place climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, integrated water resource management and land and ecosystem restoration.