Establishment of NEMA
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is established under the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) No. 8 of 1999, as the principal instrument of government in the implementation of all policies relating to the environment.
The Authority became operational on 1st July 2002 following the merger of three government departments, namely: the National Environment Secretariat (NES), the Permanent Presidential Commission on Soil Conservation and Afforestation (PPCSCA), and the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS). However, following government restructuring in March 2003, DRSRS reverted to its departmental status under the then Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR). There was a transition period characterised by the integration of previous departmental activities and appointment of the first Board of Management.
Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA), 1999
The enactment of EMCA, 1999 was a milestone in promoting sustainable environmental management in the country. The Act provides for the harmonization of about 77 sectoral statutes, which address aspects of the environment. Some sectoral statutes have inadequate provisions for prosecution of environmental offenders, while in some penalties are not sufficiently punitive to deter offenders. EMCA, 1999 provides an institutional framework and procedures for management of the environment, including provisions for conflict resolution.
Section 3 of EMCA, 1999 states that “Every person in Kenya is entitled to a clean and healthy environment and has the duty to safeguard and enhance the environment.” The Act is intended to ensure that our activities do not compromise the capacity of the resource base to meet the needs of the present generation as well as those of future generations (WCED, 1987)