Nature’s Benefits in Kenya: An Atlas of Ecosystems and Human Well-Being represents a step forward in the analysis of poverty in Kenya and its relation to the natural environment. It is the result of a partnership of national and international organizations, some of which were involved in preparing the first high-resolution poverty maps of Kenya. This publication springs from an effort among these partners to overlay the newly created poverty maps with environmental resource maps based on surveys and remote sensing data. The intent is to show the location and status of key environmental resources that are likely to have significant links with poverty.
In creating this report, we worked with several purposes and audiences in mind.
- One key purpose has been to build the information and analytical base for implementing Kenya’s Economic Recovery Strategy and other national strategies. The maps highlight the benefits nature provides to people and the connections between poverty and ecosystem services. Our aim is to demonstrate how map-based analysis of povertyecosystem relationships can make a difference in policy development and implementation.
- Secondly, we hope to encourage the private sector to give greater consideration to the role of environmental resources in alleviating poverty, with particular reference to the potential contribution of improved environmental management and investments in ecosystem restoration and enhancement. Likewise, we wish to assist environmental specialists in undertaking analyses that can shape anti-poverty policies.
- The third purpose has been to conduct a multisectoral analysis of poverty-environment linkages. In Chapter 8, we analyze competing demands for diverse ecosystem services—including food crops, drinking water, irrigation water, and wood—across an entire region (the Upper Tana River watershed). We hope that this multidimensional geospatial analysis will inspire comparable studies involving additional environmental resources and other geographic regions of the country. Such an integrated look at poverty-environment relationships, we hope, will encourage increasing collaboration between institutions both inside and outside government.
We believe that now is the right time to put together an atlas that explores poverty through an ecosystem lens. There is a growing demand for integrated data and mapping of environmental resources, poverty, and the complex web of relationships between environment and livelihoods. The Kenyan Government has committed to several national plans, strategies, and international agreements requiring action toward achieving goals for development that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.
Efforts are under way to include environment in poverty-reduction programs, such as the Poverty-Environment Initiative—a joint effort of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Government of Kenya, and other national stakeholders. Various agencies, including the Kenyan Ministries of Finance and Planning as well as the Poverty Analysis and Research Unit at the Central Bureau of Statistics, have expressed interest in environmental profiles of high poverty areas. Following Kenya’s State of the Environment Report 2003 and 2004, the National Environment Management Authority is exploring ways to use its environmental reporting data and expertise to inform national poverty-reduction efforts.
Another significant development is the growing interest of the media and the public in examining resource conflicts and competing demands for ecosystem services. Conflicts between wildlife conservation and cultivation of agricultural crops, competing demands for water resources by upstream and downstream users, and the conversion of public forests to other land uses are issues of particular concern.
We anticipate that the information presented in this atlas will be of value to various national and community-level groups. Kenya’s policymakers form one core audience, encompassing national and District decision-makers and the analysts working with them in government, civil society, and the private sector. Other users include policymakers and analysts in international organizations who collaborate with Kenyan decision-makers. We hope that Kenya’s students and teachers will use this study to enrich curricula in geography, environmental science, economics, and other disciplines and that the lessons learned in Kenya can be usefully applied to other countries and regions.
World Resources Institute
Jaspat L. Agatsiva
Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya
Anthony K.M. Kilele
Director of Statistics
Central Bureau of Statistics
Ministry of Planning and National Development, Kenya
International Livestock Research Institute