Rangeland landscape in Northern Kenya

ILRI and partners support participatory rangeland management legislation in Isiolo County, Kenya

One of the challenges to sustainable rangeland management and conservation in northern Kenya is weak land tenure security and related policies. This is because of insufficient policy attention, limited legislation, and poor implementation of existing laws to provide land tenure security for local communities in pastoralist areas. As a result, pastoralist communities often lack a strong incentive to invest in their land and ensure the sustainable use of rangelands.

In Isiolo, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), through the One Health Units for Humans, Environment, Animals, and Livelihoods (HEAL) project, along with the county government and other partners, have supported the Isiolo County rangelands management bill through its final phases. Through a consortium led by Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) Suisse, ILRI and Amref, the HEAL project supports a One Health approach that combines medical, veterinary, and rangeland health expertise for more efficient service provision in the county.

Aiming to establish guidelines on institutional structures and public participation in rangeland management and conservation, the Isiolo County Rangelands management bill also includes provisions for information access. Once completed, the bill, complementary to the Kenya Community Land Act of 2016, is designed to promote land tenure security and, as a result, influence good land stewardship.

The participatory process of developing the Isiolo County rangelands management bill has included workshops and consultations with stakeholders drawn from the national government, the county government, non-governmental organizations, community representatives, and extensive public participation. In a recent workshop, ILRI and the HEAL project reviewed the draft and recommended final edits before the bill goes for final public comments.

Appropriate legal frameworks and mechanisms like the Isiolo rangeland bill provide a stable foundation for implementing conservation and sustainable rangeland management efforts. One such initiative is the innovative Participatory Rangeland Management (PRM), developed by ILRI through the CGIAR Initiative on Livestock and Climate. PRM helps communities and stakeholders map out their resources and jointly plan how to use them sustainably.

In a workshop held in March 2023, stakeholders agreed to include the conservancy management committees in the existing ward planning committees and assign them clearly distinguished roles. On the touchy topic of conflict resolution, it was agreed that the bill be limited to handling natural resource management conflict and leave other peace-building efforts to the peace and cohesion departments.

Subsequent workshops and public engagement activities are planned for the final review and presentation of the bill for approval by the county government. The process is supported by:

Photo credit: Jason Sircely/ILRI