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A newly formed wildlife sector stakeholders’ body to galvanize industry governance
Date Published: 05 Dec, 2012
Private landowners, conservationists and investors from across the country has Tuesday (December 4, 2012), formed a national body that will provide them with a platform to directly and progressively participate in wildlife industry governance in Kenya.
A 14-member interim board for Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) has also been inaugurated to lead the formalization, registration and engagement with sector players. The board is also expected to develop a business plan, carry out advocacy, fundraising, governance and communication.
While inaugurating the board, KWS board vice chair, Margaret Mwakima, said the formation of the association is a great milestone towards harmonization of efforts in wildlife sector governance.
“We value the thoughtfulness and insights you have given this process. Our coming together will help shape the destiny of wildlife conservation within and outside protected area systems,” she said. “The national wildlife association therefore provides the opportunity to galvanize the needs and aspirations of its membership in the new dispensation.”
She said that the proposed Wildlife Bill of 2011, and the draft conservancy regulations of 2012, has both explicitly recommend devolution of rights to landholders and the institutionalization of the wildlife industry in Kenya which the now formed body actualizes.
The association shall be a ‘one stop shop’ for Government, investors, donors, and members, seeking to advance wildlife conservation outside protected areas.
The organizing secretariat has met and introduced the idea of the formation of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association to over 600 stakeholders from across the country. The regional workshops were held in Laikipia, Voi, Naivasha, Machakos, Eldoret and Nairobi over the last four months.
During these workshops, stakeholders identified key benefits such as providing a platform to lobby, advocate and influence wildlife conservation and management policy and legislation; negotiate for tax exemptions on lease registration , VAT on conservancy fees, annual rates waiver; a common platform to mobilize resources for infrastructure development and marketing for conservancies’; support the development of a Master plan for wildlife conservation and management for Kenya; recognition of Wildlife as major driver for tourism and improved rangeland management for the economic goal of Vision 2030; negotiate for improved benefit sharing agreements; institutionalize service delivery standards and facilitate public-private partnership investments.
Seed money of USD 0.7Million has already been committed over the next three years to help set up operations of the new body. The association will be developing a strategic and business plan towards attracting funding towards building the capacity of conservancies, infrastructure development and streaming governance issues.
The meeting was being hosted by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.