Evolving CBNRM in Kenya

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > East Africa > Kenya

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis); Nairobi National Park, Kenya
© Michael Gunther / WWF-Cannon


The African elephant and the black rhino are both flagship species which face numerous threats and challenges, including poaching, habitat loss and degradation and illegal killing for wildlife trophies. Community Based Nature Resource Management (CBNRM) is one of the most effective strategies to ensure such species receive the protection they deserve.

WWF believes that the threats facing these majestic species can only be addressed through a proper wildlife policy and legal framework. Whilst draft legislation has been drawn up, it has not been enacted and this project aims to support processes which will ensure the passing of a new wildlife policy and law in Kenya.


The role of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife is to formulate policies in the forestry and wildlife sectors and set priorities for the sustainable management of the forest and wildlife resources in Kenya.

The forestry and wildlife sectors form the cornerstone of Kenya’s economic foundation. Wildlife based tourism is the second largest economic sector of Kenya’s economy. Tourism provides multiplier effects in agriculture, horticulture, transport and communications, among other sectors. It is one of the three pillars for Kenya’s vision 2030, a government blueprint that aims to generate an annual economic growth rate of 10% and also aims to create a cohesive, equitable and just society based on democratic principles and issue-based politics that are grounded on the rich experience and diverse culture and traditions.

Kenya is currently at an advanced stage of enacting a new policy and law to govern wildlife. This is intended to conclude policy and legislative initiatives which commenced in 1996. It is hoped that once Kenya accomplishes this task, the country will have adequate laws for the conservation and management of wildlife resources within and outside protected areas. The new law and policy will also address a number of cross-cutting issues in respect to wildlife conservation and other sectors of the economy. The process will allow the review of the drafts based on the just adopted constitution of Kenya.


The goal of this project is to have enabling wildlife management policies and laws for Kenya and to ensure that the draft legislaton passes into law by December 2011. This should provide for greater ownership, rights and benefits for resource managers in both local communities and the private sector and lead to a positive change for communities regarding ownership, management, use, benefits and rights. WWF’s support for the draft legislation aims to:
- Ensure all documentation clearly defines and articulates ownership, rights and benefits of and for resource managers (local communities and private sector).
- Ensure finalisation of the policy and the bill for cabinet approval and subsequent presidential assent.


The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife will lead the process to facilitate the improvement of the document. The Ministry has expressed a desire to see a new and much better wildlife policy and law and the law is within its mandate. This initiative will not therefore be viewed as one led by WWF. The Ministry will assign a senior office who will oversee implementation of the project with logistical support from WWF staff.

Given the existing political conditions following the passing of the new constitution, the entire process for the review and finalisation of the policy and Bill is planned to take at most 12 months with 3 years of implementation. The implementation component will be based on a new proposal.

Appreciating that the draft policy and bill preparation process has been highly consultative and participatory; this penultimate stage of the review will be undertaken by a select committee of experts drawn from key stakeholders. Under guidance from the project team, these experts will be facilitated by a consultant who will have undertaken a critical review of the contentious issues, and will then engage the team in proposing amendments.

To support implementation, there will be a field trip to Namibia involving the implementing agencies (Ministry of Forests and Wildlife, KWS and WWF) and two Members of Parliament from the Parliamentary Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources to learn about CBNRM experiences. A two day workshop will be held with the committee of experts who will identify contentious issues and make amendments, including aligning it with the new constitution.

The revised draft will then be presented and interrogated by the parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources and the caucus of Members of Parliament on environment and natural resources to promote a common understanding of the issues with the law makers.

A workshop will be held for the Ministry and experts to draft a cabinet paper that will be forwarded by the Minister to the Cabinet for discussion and endorsement of the draft wildlife Bill and Policy before transmission to parliament for debate and passing by members of parliament before being signed into law by the president.

The acquired knowledge by members of parliament will then be used by the members of the parliamentary committee to lobby and create awareness among other Members of Parliament to support the passing in parliament of the revised draft.

In summary, the key deliverables from the entire process will be:
1. A draft wildlife Bill and Policy 2010
2. A draft cabinet paper on wildlife Bill and policy
3. An endorsement of the wildlife Bill and Policy by committee of Parliament
4. Presentation of the wildlife Bill and Policy to parliament for passing into law

This process will form a major step towards developing a policy regarding community rights over and benefits from wildlife - as a means to improved biodiversity conservation and equitable utilization. Given the trends in wildlife management, it should provide for local people's participation, ownership of wildlife and directions on consumptive use. It should enable wildlife use by the land owners and land users to become a profitable economic venture for local communities by ensuring that the rights to access and control are secured. Thus although under the draft policy, the role of communities with regard to wildlife conservation and benefits has been fairly well captured there are divergent views by the two communities i.e. few ranch owners and the others who have different interests. This is why the government is proposing to develop a CBNRM strategy for Kenya to ensure benefits and incentives to the local communities. This will form a wider framework on the participation of local communities in natural resource management, including wildlife.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required