Biodiversity in Kenya
Kenya is a mega biodiverse country with a wide variety of ecological zones and habitats, which include coastal and marine, mountain, lowland, tropical, dryland, forest, and arid land. The country has some 467 inland lake and wetland habitats that cover approximately 2.5 percent of the total area, as well as over 35,000 species of flora and fauna, including the ‘big five’ – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard. Kenya’s biodiversity is concentrated mainly in its forests, wildlife parks and reserves, and some of the rich variety of endemic plant and animal species found in these forest habitats are not found elsewhere in the world.
This rich ecosystem is constantly under threat from high population pressure, escalating poverty and conflicts inappropriate land tenure and land use practices that are causing land degradation, low-level awareness about the benefits of wildlife, expanding tourism, and climate change.
Nagoya Protocol and ABS Implementation
Kenya is a Party to the Nagoya Protocol, but the country’s environmental and biodiversity-related laws, policies and frameworks are inadequate to implement Access to genetic resources Benefit-Sharing (ABS). The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) provides for the rights to reasonable access to wildlife and benefit-sharing but conservation of plant genetic resources is mostly uncoordinated. Available legal frameworks give little attention to the intellectual property rights and traditional knowledge.
Current UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project Activities in Kenya
The Global ABS project is supporting the review of existing biodiversity laws and assisting in developing new legal instruments that would help simplify ABS implementation in the country. Dialogues and consultations are ongoing to identify and establish the best framework for the country’s large and diverse stakeholders. Efforts are also being made to raise awareness about the benefits of ABS and sustainable management of available biodiversity. Support is being provided to establish partnerships and raise additional resources for implementing the project in the country.