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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Wandiga

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Alignment of Constitutional Design and Design of Local Development Activi

As Kenyans we have high hopes and ambitions. So much so that in 2010 we revised our entire national Constitution as an expression of our commitment to better quality of life and an improved future. This commitment is most certainly a national journey towards positive impact.

In this journey, the Constitution is the roadmap that shows us the direction we need to take. When following a map, one gets to a destination faster if one uses a compass. The compass helps us make sure we are reading the map right side up and going North instead of West. The compass also allows us to correct our travel quickly if we stray from the desired destination and direction. In the context of national planning and Vision 2030 progress, the compass becomes the governing principles we use to create local development.

Let us start with the Constitutional roadmap:

How does the Constitution of Kenya 2010 promote environmental sustainability? (2015)

Article 2(5) of the Constitution states that the general rules of international law shall form part of the law of Kenya

Let us start this week with the first principle and continue over the coming weeks:

the polluter pays principle - we are recognizing pullution as a free market impediment because pollution decreases the quality of raw materials (e.g. food, textile fibres) and the ability to make efficient transactions (e.g. decline in fishing, impassable waterways, corrosive water). Those who generate pollution that diminishes free market transactions must pay for the full cost of the problem they are causing. 

Polluter-Pays-Principle: The Cardinal Instrument for Addressing Climate Change (2015)

Now we have a compass direction. This is our North. To get to the destination we need latitude and longitude. We again look to the Constitutional roadmap for bearings.  

Article 69 imposes obligations on the State.

b) work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least ten per cent of the land area of Kenya - this is like when you look on a map and discover something that you did not know was there. (-: 

What pollution activities impede maintaining 10% of tree cover in your local community? 

Do you know how many trees are needed to cover 10% of your local community? 

How much land have you set aside locally for the 10% tree cover?

What type of pollution prevents trees from growing and how much does it cost to clean this pollution? 

What local enforcement mechanisms have you put in place to collect the fines? 

f) establish systems of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit and monitoring of the environment;

g) eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment; 

h) utilize the environment and natural resources for the benefit of the people of Kenya.

Getting down to ground level, we know pollution comes from human activity. Nobody likes fines because they don't stop the problem from happening. People get angry because they have to pay. Enforcement officials are angry because they have to chase people to pay. Then we have to pay to fix the problem. All this is time and money that could be better utilised enjoying the sustainable free market (if we had it).

How about we create Pollution Prevention Councils or Pollution Prevention Task Forces?

What would these Councils or Task Forces Do?

Let us go to the map legend, Vision 2030

Under Agriculture and Rural Development we have Land Use Master Plan. 

Remember the above questions about 10%? 

How are these questions answered in the Land Use Master Plan?

Now let us look at Manufacturing

We have as a priority to develop natural products initiatives. 

When we are developing natural products, what is the cost of pollution in terms of reduced export quality due to impurities in our natural products? 

How much more raw material would we have available if there was less pollution? 

Next we go to the Social pillar 

Under Population, Urbanisation and Housing, 

What are the plans for zero emissions and zero waste to landfill in our local development agendas? 

As population growth increases exponentially, how will affordable pollution prevention increase exponentially?

Under Health, we can combine our Manufacturing goals and our Social goals. 

What types of localised Community Information Systems are we creating so that we can link pollution prevention to improved health outcomes? 


Community Environmental Health Assessment Toolbox for New Mexico

Those of you who love to develop apps just because, can you develop a map that makes it easier to gather data and share information as per the toolbox? 

An example of data gathering in Kenya 

Industrial air pollution in rural Kenya: community awareness, risk perception and associations between risk variables (2014)

Do you still feel there is a lack of jobs in Kenya? 

This work needs to be done per Constitutional mandate. Unless you want to pay more taxes (this is how governments get revenues to higher people), it would be better to come up with social enterprise solutions to get paid for doing the work we need to make progress. 

If you are excited to make positive environmental change but having trouble with the details of implementation, you can always hire CSTI for facilitation (see General Facilitation Day Rates) or consultancy (see R&D Collaboration in which we would help you develop data driven pilots and innovation strategies that create high quality implementation plans).

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