Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NRM Project Undergoes Re-Structuring

Between January 17th and 26th, 2011 a joint World Bank and Government of Kenya  Technical Restructuring Mission for the above mentioned project was carried out. The overall objective of the mission was to appraise proposed adjustments to the project objectives and components to allow for a formal restructuring at the level of the World Bank Board of Directors. The team comprised of Christian Peter -Task Team Leader, Peter Kristensen -Acting Program Coordinator, Gibwa Kajubi -Senior Social Development Specialist, Junko Nishikawa -Environmental Specialist, Julius Muchemi -Social Safeguards Consultant and Monica Okwirry -Program Assistant.

The objective of the project is to enhance KFS institutional capacity to manage forest resources in a sustainable and participatory way. The Project Coordinator Mr. Yakhama Iganji, points out that “despite the delay in the start-up phase, implementation progress of the project has improved and current performance under the technical parts of the project components is considered satisfactory. However, progress with respect to the application of the social safeguards instruments has been slow.”
During project preparation, the World Bank’s Operational Policy on Indigenous Peoples was triggered with regard to management of forest resources due to the presence of the Ogiek and Sengwer communities in the Mt Elgon and Cherangany Hills, respectively. Since actual sub-project sites are yet to be identified, an Indigenous Peoples Planning Framework (IPPF) was developed to ensure that these communities benefitted from the project and were not adversely impacted, and to ensure that measures are put in place to mitigate such actions and/or compensate adversely affected peoples. 

However, the IPPF includes commitments which have subsequently proven to be difficult to implement: 
(i) a commitment to hasten the provision of titles for land presently occupied and used by these communities in the project areas. 
(ii) a commitment to establish a comprehensive strategy to rehabilitate the livelihoods of evicted indigenous peoples to the level of December 30, 2002; and 
(iii) a commitment for the project to offer specific assistance within the land restitution process to indigenous peoples to claim all lands over which indigenous peoples have lost control between 1895 and December 30 2002.  Given that these land allocation and restitution commitments are designed as a nation-wide obligatory instrument, it has become clear that they cannot be delivered within the project’s scope and timeframe; hence this requirement has been restructured.
Additional focus over the next three months will be on advancing the existing IPPF into Indigenous Peoples Plans (IPPs) that are implementable under the mandate of IAs and define measures to assist IPs in their efforts to improve their livelihoods.  Further, the mission proposed to consider providing resources for setting up an inter-ministerial platform to continue the dialogue on land-related commitments made in the IPPF. 
The mission agreed that the project will provide funding to necessary analytical work to facilitate the alignment of the IAs with requirements of the new Constitution, in particular the institutional set up at and collaboration with the (to-be) established County Governments. All the above will ensure successful implementation of NRMP, which is expected to come to a completion in the next two years.
Report by Ann Kaari (NRM Communications Officer) 

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