The rehabilitation of the “water towers” in Kenya: a new research issue, November 24th, 2 – 5 p.m. IFRA (French institute for research in Africa), Laikipia road, Kileleshwa
The rehabilitation of the “water towers” in Kenya: a new research issue
November 24th 2 – 5 p.m.
IFRA (French institute for research in Africa), Laikipia road, Kileleshwa
Since the late 2000s, in Kenya, forest conservation has become instrumental in the achievement of new ambitious national objectives in terms of environmental protection. The formulation of these objectives has been greatly influenced by the international agenda on climate change adaptation and mitigation. The conservation of the national water resources can also be regarded as one of the main driver of public action in the forested areas of the country.
In the last decade, the concept of “water tower” has been widely disseminated in Kenya. It is now commonly used both by institutions or organisations involved in natural resources management and by the media to denote the mountain forests where the sources of major rivers are located. Though many features of this concept still need to be specified (especially regarding its territorial extent), it has become an efficient means of justification for public intervention in some of the “degraded” national forests, allowing in some cases the (controversial) eviction of population living in forest reserves.
In 2012, 18 water towers have been gazetted, and a new parastatal agency (the Kenya Water Towers Agency) created to coordinate the activities of protection of these newly designated important ecological areas. After a strong focus on the Mau Complex, other high-elevation forests have become the new targets of action. With the recent launch of the WaTER (Water Tower Protection and Climate Change Programme), funded by the European Union, Mount Elgon and the Cherangani Hills (or the so-called “twin water towers”) are now in the centre of attention.
This seminar will bring officials and researchers together in an attempt to identify the main research questions related to this new national ambition referred to as “the rehabilitation of the water towers”, and will seek to address some of them.
Doctor Paul Ongugo, science leader at the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI)
The presentations will be followed by a debate with the audience.