Nature’s Benefits in Kenya: An Atlas of Ecosystems and Human Well-Being offers, for the first time in one volume, georeferenced information on poverty, water, food, biodiversity, wood, and tourism. It presents sectoral and intersectoral analyses in innovative ways and gives policymakers and decision-makers a quick national view of major spatial patterns in each sector.
We are fully aware that Kenya needs a more holistic approach in planning and decision-making to address the complex interactions among different ecosystem processes and to achieve Kenya’s multiple development targets. We therefore greatly appreciate the value of this publication and fully support future mapping and other analytical initiatives that take the complexity of nature and the important linkages between poverty and the environment into consideration.
Kenya has made significant investments in collecting environmental and poverty data over the years. This atlas demonstrates that information generated by institutions such as the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing, and others can not only be used for better environmental reporting and poverty analyses but can also provide insights into linkages between poverty and the environment in specific locations. Such analyses can shed light on possible competition or synergies among various ecosystem services. Understanding such relationships can be extremely important as the country makes investment decisions and creates new economic opportunities.
The atlas also demonstrates that collecting census and household survey data and building technical skills to produce poverty maps within the Central Bureau of Statistics are useful investments and reach far beyond their more narrow application in the macroeconomic sector – such as disbursing development funds for Constituencies. We believe that investments to better integrate existing environmental and natural resources data and to fill important environmental data gaps will provide high returns and lead to more informed planning and decision-making at both national and local levels.
This report will allow decision-makers, both public and private, access to data and the ability to overlay high-quality, detailed maps of ecosystems and ecosystem services with maps of poverty. Integrating spatial information on human well-being and the environment in this way is relevant to many policy issues currently under discussion in Kenya.
We see great opportunities to inject some of the ideas outlined in this atlas to help in land-use planning, prioritize livestock and tourism investments, enhance water management and food security planning, and improve environmental impact assessments. We encourage further use of the approaches set forth herein to guide policies under preparation (e.g., environment and geoinformation policy) and to assist in formulating new ones that cut across multiple sectors (e.g., wildlife and livestock policies).
Making better use of maps and spatial information can certainly strengthen the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and the Economic Recovery Strategy (and its successor strategy). It will certainly help the Government to formulate sound policies and implement realistic plans. It will help identify priority areas for interventions and assist in examining tradeoffs among different investment decisions.
Kenya needs to continue building partnerships within government institutions for better poverty-environment analyses. Only through such partnerships can the country build the necessary technical capacity to analyze and compile maps that document the extent of major ecosystems, the location of key supply areas of ecosystem services and their use, and the spatial distribution of poverty. We therefore support cross-sectoral units such as the Poverty Analysis and Research Unit at the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Ministry of Planning and National Development, the Geoinformation Section at the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Arid Lands Resource Management Project in their current roles. In fact, we would like to see widening roles for these institutions, and, in terms of timeliness and countrywide coverage, expanded geospatial information. Such efforts will help target poverty reduction strategically and will help us to manage ecosystems in a more integrated way.
Nature’s Benefits in Kenya required collaboration and contributions from national and international institutions covering various sectors and specialties. We believe that these working relationships and the experience gained in producing this atlas can become the foundation for developing more specific and more accurate tools and analyses, which we envision policymakers and other decision-makers in Kenya will request.
Professor James Ole Kiyiapi
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
Dr. Edward Sambili, C.B.S.
Ministry of Planning and National Development
Dr. Jacob Ole Miaron, C.B.S.
Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development
Mr. Mahaboub Mohamed Maalim, O.G.W.
Ministry of Water and Irrigation
Mrs. Rebecca Mwikali Nabutola, M.B.S.
Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife