The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

Enabling environment for FLR and non-timber forest products and services in Kenya

Year published: 02/06/2020

Between 1990 and 2010, Kenya’s forest cover decreased from 12 percent to only 6 percent, but the country has set the objective to bring it back to 10 percent by 2030. Degradation is estimated to cost the Kenyan economy at least 3 percent of its Gross Domestic Product annually. While several forest and land management policies and laws have been adopted, policy and capacity gaps on forest and landscape restoration (FLR) remain. Furthermore, non-timber forest products and services (NTFPSs), which play a significant and critical role in the livelihoods of Kenyan people, are yet to be fully developed due to weak policy frameworks. The Restoration Initiative (TRI) in Kenya, funded by the Global Environment Facility, has adopted an integrated approach to address deforestation, land degradation and biodiversity loss, targeting policy and institutional capacity while supporting community-led FLR and the development of alternative livelihoods through the improvement of bioenterprises of NTFPSs in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs).

Supported by TRI, the FAO Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP) are helping the Government of Kenya to develop a five-year FLR implementation action plan (2021–2025). This plan aims at accelerating interventions on the ground to restore and sustainably manage deforested and degraded landscapes and contribute to the country’s Bonn Challenge commitment to restore 5 100 000 ha by 2030. Under the leadership of the Kenya Forestry Service, and in collaboration with experts from the National Technical Working Group on FLR, a rigorous multi-stakeholder consultative process was followed to develop this plan, which is informed by the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Technical Report (2016) and relevant national and county level policies, strategies and legal frameworks. The first step was to develop a clear roadmap to draft, improve, validate, approve, print, sign and officially launch the FLR plan. The plan provides strategies and activities to facilitate the scaling-up of FLR in the country. It also provides a monitoring framework and a financial plan, and proposes arrangements for the coordination and steering of FLR activities in the country, hinged on the existing structures and institutional frameworks at the local, country and national level.

Though the FLR plan has the development of NTFPS value chains as one of its proposed interventions, it is critical to have a strategy to promote sustainable commercialization of NTFPSs in the country. Through the leadership of the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), and in partnership with key players in the subsector, the development of a national NTFPS strategy has been initiated. The initial step was to develop a clear roadmap to carry out a situational analysis, draft, improve, validate, approve, print, sign and officially launch the NTFPS strategy. A situational analysis of the subsector has been carried out in consultation with more than 50 institutions from the government, non-governmental organizations, private companies and community associations. The analysis mainly focused on past and ongoing interventions, key stakeholders and their roles, key barriers and opportunities for the development of the subsector.

The implementation of the FLR action plan and NTFPS strategy is expected to provide additional incomes to rural households, increased quality and supply of water, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

For more information contact: [email protected]

 Meshack Muga (FAO), Violet Oriwo and Rose Chiteva (Kenya Forestry Research Institute)