Denmark has been a traditional development partner for Kenya over several decades. This has seen the implementation of a variety of programmes across different sectors. Two previous programmes have been successfully implemented in NEMA including the Environment Programme Support (EPS 2006-2010); the Natural Resources Management Programme (NRM 2010-2016). Discussions started a while back over a successor programme to the danida funded Natural Resources Management (NRM) programme (2010-14). In December 2015 NEMA signed off on a partnership agreement on a new programme dubbed The ‘Green Growth and Employment Programme (GGEP)’

The Green Growth and Employment Program is based on the vision of the Denmark-Kenya Partnership Policy 2015-2020 and will support the objective of Kenya’s Vision 2030 “Contributing to a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030”.  The Government of Denmark has agreed to partner with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA, Kenya) to implement the ‘Greening Kenya’s Development Pathway’ component of the ‘Green Growth and Employment Program’ (GGEP) that is earmarked to run from July 2016 to June 2020. The total funding support to NEMA over this period will be approximately 40 Million Danish Kroner (approximately KES 560 Million).

Programme Management

  • A programme management team has been constituted comprising of representation across all departments.
  • A DANIDA advisor, Mr. John Balarin has been seconded to NEMA to provide strategic insights to the programme. Unlike previous arrangements, NEMA is now considered mature enough and will not therefore benefit from a long term Technical Advisor company facility. 

Summary Achievements

Both the NRM and GGEP programmes contributed substantially to the revision of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) CAP 387 of the Kenyan Laws in 2015 to align it to the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and other current legal, institutional and environmental realities. The revised Act is now seen as one of the most progressive in the region.

Enhanced capacities of counties to undertake their environmental functions

In our current constitutional order counties play important roles in environmental management including county planning, air pollution, and solid waste management. In this regard NEMA needs to work closely with county governments. One of the avenues for achieving this outcome is through the county environment committees (CECs). According to EMCA CAP 387 the CEC is meant to be in charge of all environmental functions in a county. It is therefore important that NEMA works towards ensuring that CECs are established in all the 47 counties and that they are operational. To this end the authority through GGEP support has initiated a number of important interventions including the development of county environmental committee operational manual and guidelines; formulation of a basic enforcement course for counties; study tours with counties to a number of municipalities in Denmark; and frequent consultations with the council of governors. Joint inspections have also been undertaken between NEMA and a number of county governments

National Environment Action Plan (NEAP)

Environment Action Plans are a smart way of setting the environmental targets that a country wishes to attain over a certain planning period. NEMA has always achieved these through the National Environment Action Plan (NEAP) and the County Environment Action Plans (CEAPS). The NEAP traditionally integrates the 47 CEAPs. A number of important results have been realized in this area including the rollout of Environment Action Plan Preparation guidelines at both the national and county levels; 10 counties have been supported to develop and review their action plans while 27 counties have already developed draft action plans and a CEAPs due diligence toolkit has been developed and validated. The 2016/17 National State of the Environment Report is nearing completion with key input from lead agencies in various environmental sectors.


Various Environment Action planning documents developed with support of GGEP


The Environment Performance Index (EPI)

NEMA has begun a transformation process of changing the “mind-sets’ of different lead agencies (i.e. MDAs and Counties) and private sector aimed at affecting a shift from Kenya’s current brown economic growth trajectory towards a greener economic pathway. Progress towards this goal is reflected in the Yale and Columbia University 2018 global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which shows Kenya has moved from a 2014 ranking of 140/180 to 130/180, and from a baseline EPI of 36.99 to 47.25. NEMA is now leading a process to generate a home- grown Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which will now be a more scientific way of measuring the country’s environmental performance based on local indicators. Additionally this will also help monitor and compare performance by counties; shape discussion at the local level regarding the place of environmental goods and services; and secure resources for the environmental sector. On a broad scale this tool will help inform policy decisions and resource allocation at County, Country, and private sector levels.

Green Points

Danida agreed to support the development and activation of green points along the key agro- ecological zones of Kenya. These serve a number of functions including: demonstrating that NEMA practices what it preaches in terms of green designs (solar usage; water recycling; solid waste management etc.). The green points also serve to link NEMA and county governments where joint meetings are undertaken for a variety of activities. Several community- inspired activities have taken place including thematic exhibitions on issues such as energy conservation, water resource use, conflict management, human rights issues, and climate change, to name but a few.

These centres have also been used to demonstrate local innovations and promote the voice of the private sector in sustainable environmental management. Due to the information, education and communication materials in these facilities the centres continue to receive visits from both research and educational institutions. To date, eight green points have been established in Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Embu, Isiolo, Homa bay, Kajiado, Elgeyo- Marakwet, and Samburu. The Japanese Development agency, JICA is looking to place volunteers from Japan at the green points to advance both their learning and to strengthen the outreach capabilities of these centers of excellence.


Green Points/ Centers of environmental excellence in Isiolo, Taita Taveta and Embu


Development of a Rapid Environment Emergency Response Unit (RERU)

 As a coordinator and supervisor of all environmental matters in the country, NEMA receives and is required to respond to environmental incidents in a timely and effective manner either directly or in conjunction with lead agencies. This informed the need to establish a Rapid Environment Response Unit (RERU). The latter unit needs to be designed from a human, technological, and operational front. The programme has engaged a consultant to redesign NEMA’s response unit. This will look at how incidents are received, classified and handled. The consultant will map out and assess the current institutional status and players in the National Rapid Environment Emergency Response Framework (RERF). The aim is to clarify the role of the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) and first responders, lead agencies and county roles, to undertake a vulnerability assessment and to recommend a clear RERF structure and role of NEMA, recommending ways to strengthen NEMA’s coordination and supervision mandate as in the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) CAP 387.

To support the Rapid Environment Emergency Response Unit (RERU), NEMA, through GGEP support, designed and ordered a vehicle for the purpose of having a mobile team that can react to emergency incidents. It is kitted with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and kits for effluent and air emission quality checks in an effort to pre-empt or contain potential hazardous situations from developing. 

 On the same note the laboratory at NEMA has undergone major upgrades and has been re-fitted and equipped, and is complementary to the water and air quality mobile units supported by World Bank’s Kenya Petroleum Technical Assistance Project, which are now fully functional. 



Danida Fellowship Centre Trainings

As one of the implementing partners of the Green Growth and Employment Programme (GGEP) NEMA is a beneficiary of training opportunities at the Danida Fellowship Centre (DFC) in a wide array of areas including management, climate change, gender, green economy among others. To date over 100 NEMA staff have benefited from these trainings from both headquarters and the field offices. These trainings have translated into direct capacities for NEMA to implement her mandate. Whereas it might not be possible for all staff to access these courses, those trained are expected to mentor others. Relevant course materials are expected to be deposited in the online Knowledge Management System (KMS) for access by all.


While I have travelled to Denmark I have attended one course through DFC and a study tour of the municipality of Odense courtesy of Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA). The first course I attended was on Natural Resources management that had international participants and hence it offered me a great opportunity to share my experience with other professionals in the world, and we continue to interact and network to date. I was privileged to attend a study tour that gave me the chance to learn how Denmark, a developed country manages her environment because it is very clean and beautiful. From that experience I remain hoping to get an opportunity to work with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.   

I attended two DANIDA training programs in Denmark in the year 2017. The first was on environmental inspection and the second on Green and Circular Economy respectively.

The training contributed to my understanding of green and circular economy and the available technologies and measures necessary for a green development pathway. It further improved my skills in building partnerships and collaborations within the county of Kajiado where I work.

The most exciting moment was when the organizers (DFC) ensured that the learners attended the Building Green conference held in Copenhagen where we were able to learn more, build networks with the participating institutions, researches, students, and innovators with practical solutions towards green growth.


Enhanced Public Private Partnership in the Adoption of Green Technologies and Practices

The Government of Kenya, and by extension NEMA, in the aspiration of the sustainable development goals No. 17 acknowledges that a successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. The role of non- state actors in the sphere of environmental management especially through their practical knowledge bases; voluntary compliance, and adoption of cleaner production technologies can play as co- partners cannot and can never be overlooked in the modern environmental management.

With support of GGEP and in collaboration with the Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre (KNCPC), NEMA continues the initiative for compliance promotion and assistance to industries in the Nairobi River Basin, the Lake Victoria basin and the coastal zone. The program aims at reducing emissions and effluent discharges as well as increasing competitiveness of the industries by promoting resource efficiency, waste reduction and optimizing material use, water and energy utilization efficiency through the application of cleaner production, greener technologies and techniques.  The initiative has been building the capacities of participating 46 industries on self-regulation and compliance promotion through industrial systems assessments in Nairobi basin. 

Due to the benefits accrued from the Nairobi Basin cleaner production and compliance assistance programme, NEMA and KNCPC extended it to the Lake Victoria Basin and the coastal region. A technical team from NEMA and KNCPC has been leading the undertaking of recruitment, mapping, and sampling as well as detailed in-plant assessment of industries in readiness for cleaner production and circular economy using the industrial symbiosis concept. In the recent past the exercise has managed to map 102 industries from 14 counties namely Kisumu, Kericho, Nandi, Bomet, Kisi, Nyamira, Homabay, Narok, Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu. NEMA sees a great transformation of environment in the manufacturing sector when these recruited industries will increase their resource efficiency and waste reduction.  

NEMA has also initiated a partnership with the Ruaraka Business Community (RUBICOM) and Denmark’s Environment Protection Agency (DEPA) that aims at making the Ruaraka industrial zone a “living laboratory” for industrial symbiosis, and a circular and green economy, a first of its own kind in Kenya and East Africa with scope for harmonized up-scaling in other parts of the country and the region.

NEMA has undertaken a plastics mass flow in Kenya and reviewed trends in plastics management globally and prepared a draft strategy for plastics management in Kenya. Further, the Authority with GGEP support commissioned a study on the costs and benefits of using Economic Instruments that could be used for establishing a circular economy in the country.

A collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, NEMA and Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) has been enhanced in pursuit of a sustainable management of plastic bottles and reduction of their pollution to the environment. A model take- back scheme has been developed and is under pilot as part of the extended producer responsibility concept and life cycle approach. This will ensure that waste plastic bottles do not continue to litter the environment but will be collected and probably be re-used; recycled or properly disposed of following the best practices. This cooperation has extended to leverage on the advantages of modern ICT innovation especially the use of mobile apps and online systems in data collection and management for the scheme.  The actions here will assist in the formulation of environmental award schemes.

As the Green Growth and Employment programme 2016-2020 strides into its last half of implementation, the National Environment Management Authority reiterates her commitment to the goal of steering Kenya’s development into a greener pathway. Through the inclusive partnership of Denmark and Kenya built upon principles and values, a shared vision and goals for a green economy, a clean health and sustainable environment for all in Kenya the NEMA board of management and the entire NEMA fraternity looks forward to a continued partnership beyond GGEP 2020.

{By David Ong’are, NEMA’s Director Compliance, Enforcement and Field operation  and Joseph Makau,  Environment Officer and GGEP Coordinator}


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