NEMA Declares a moratoruim on the Amboseli Ecosystem

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has with effect from 28th February 2013 declared a moratorium on the Amboseli ecosystem. The implication of the moratorium is that NEMA and relevant lead agencies shall NOT issue requisite licenses for ANY NEW/PROPOSED developments or projects as listed in the second schedule of the Environment Management and Coordination Act, 1999.The moratorium will be in place for a period of one (1) year or until the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan that has been developed in consultation with stakeholders is gazetted.
The Amboseli ecosystem covers an area of approximately 5,700 km2 stretching between Mt. Kilimanjaro, Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West National park and the Kenya/Tanzania Border.  It is a fragile ecosystem that is internationally recognized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve because of the ecosystem’s significance as an example of an area that fulfills conservation, research and development functions.
The Amboseli ecosystem has been under siege from rising population, haphazard developments which have come up such as unplanned tourism facilities, drilling of boreholes, construction of airstrips, farming, settlement, land subdivision in the middle of wildlifecorridors, unpredictable and prolonged droughts among others. This has resulted in diminishing wildlife and wildlife migratory routes and dispersal areas being chocked.
While the Amboseli ecosystem has experienced the above it remains an area rich with resource values such as swamps (which include the Kimana and Namelok), wildlife comprising of elephants, lions, zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, Mr. Kilmanjaro, diverse landscapes, authentic Masai culture, cultural sites of local importance, long term research programs, traditional pastoralism, community wildlife conservation initiatives among others and hence the need for protection.
The moratorium was arrived at after a consultative forum attended by stakeholders from lead agencies who include the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Water Resource Management Authority, Olekejuado County Council, Ministry of Regional Authorities, Attorney General’s Chamber, Kenya Investment Authority, Ministry of Tourism, Africa Wildlife Foundation, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, Amboseli Tsavo Group Ranches Conservation Association, members of the local community among others.
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