Establishing Policy and Regulatory Frameworks to Support Equitable Forest and Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Land Management in Kenya’s Tana Delta

Published: 08 November 2023
Last edited: 08 November 2023
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The Restoration Initiative’s (TRI) Kenya Tana Delta project has worked to facilitate the development of policy, governance, and regulatory frameworks that support coordinated and equitable forest landscape restoration (FLR) and sustainable land management. This includes advising and advocating for almost 20 policies and pieces of legislation, with eight being approved in both Tana River and Lamu Counties. To achieve these supportive policies and regulations, TRI worked to enhance public support for FLR at the national and county level with a robust communications strategy, to mainstream FLR into county budgetary processes through lobbying and advocacy, and to integrate FLR and sustainable land management into policies and planning processes by helping elaborate plans such as the Lamu and Tana River County Integrated Development Plans. The new FLR-supportive policy framework has ultimately brought in greater funding and pushed Kenya towards meeting its restoration goals.  


West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate evergreen forest
Legal & policy frameworks
Land and Forest degradation
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Other targets
Global Biodiversity Framework 2030 Targets 1


Tana Delta, Kenya


The major challenge TRI faced in Kenya’s Tana Delta is the prioritization of FLR. Although the project has worked to identify policy gaps and the county has funding, using those funds for implementation will not always be a priority for the county government. Because of local politics, many officials want to invest in policies that have overwhelming political support and will result in a vote, which may not line up with the project’s conservation and development goals. Additionally, with a recent change in governments, new officials may not view previously developed policies as a priority and therefore not promote them or pursue their implementation, even if they are overwhelmingly beneficial. However, with lobbying and advocacy efforts, local community support can be expanded and push officials to support these policies.  


The beneficiaries are local communities residing in areas whose landscapes are being restored. With county governments acting as custodians, the new policies will ensure communities have enough water in their rivers and ecosystems are restored. 

How do the building blocks interact?

Through the use of a robust communication plan and the mainstreaming of landscape restoration and sustainable land management into county budgets as well as county and national policies, TRI Kenya Tana Delta was able to create a policy, legal, and regulatory framework that not only supports restoration but also expands policy and finance capacities. The elaboration of policies allows restoration measures to be enacted and enforced, while the inclusion of restoration in county budgets ensures the outlined measures can be adequately implemented. The communication plan, then, is used to ensure local communities are supportive of the restoration policies and to influence mindsets, habits, and practices in favor of restoration. Together, these building blocks along with the resulting increase in county, national, and international investment, allow for the successful elaboration and implementation of FLR-based policies that in turn help local communities with benefits such as enough water in rivers and ecosystems restored.


With policy and governance frameworks that are supportive of equitable forest landscape restoration and sustainable land management efforts, TRI’s Kenya Tana Delta project has brought in greater funding for the implementation of these policies. Establishing FLR-based policies has ensured the counties meet the World Bank’s Financing Locally Led Climate Action (FLLoCA) program’s financing requirements. With this additional investment from the World Bank, the counties will have the necessary funding for FLR policy implementation and have greater capacity for further policy development. In this way, the project will likely result in a triggering effect that promotes a greater up-take of policies prioritizing FLR and sustainable land management.  


Additionally, with policies in place that support FLR and sustainable land management, the counties will actively participate in restoration and contribute towards meeting Kenya’s Bonn Challenge restoration commitments of reaching 10.6 million hectares restored.  


Amalie Mara Miyesa is a 42-year old mother of two children from Idsowe village, in Tana Delta, a member of a local community group-the Tana Delta Conservation Network (TDCN) and among the beneficiary households.


“My life took a u-turn in early 2022 when I was introduced to TRI Tana project,” said Amalie. “My greatest encounter as a beneficiary was during an exchange visit to Baringo County in northern Kenya. We learned about restoration, development of environmental action plans, and development of value chains that promote sustainable use of natural resources to mitigate adverse environmental impacts on the landscape and generate positive results for nature and communities in arid and semi-arid lands.”


“This exposure gave me the drive to start this poultry enterprise to enable me get some income to supplement the little money I used to get from my husband,” said Amalie, as she pointed at the poultry farm. “Thanks to the partnership between Nature Kenya, and TDCN, I have a 352 egg capacity incubator,” she said. ‘Initially, I used to hatch eggs using a locally fabricated incubator, the hatching percentage was very low as most of the eggs were destroyed in the process due to unregulated heat. However, with the new machine, hatching percentage has tremendously increased to more than 75% and I now enjoy higher returns.”


“Life was very difficult before starting the poultry business.  The money I used to get from my husband was not sufficient to meet my needs as a woman, and those of my family. In most cases I had to request for support from my family and friends and this too was not sustainable as sometimes my requests were ignored,” narrated Amalie. “Poultry farming has enabled me to do wonders within a short period of time. My main source of income is from the sale of chicken, eggs, and chicks. I am able to pay full year’s school fee for my daughter and niece who are in secondary school, besides meeting other expenses such as food and clothing for the family.”


Poultry farming is environmentally friendly and generates multiple community benefits. Amalie has planted numerous trees in her farm as manure from the poultry is used to provide nutrients crops.  Out of interest in planting indigenous trees, Amalia has established a tree nursery to raise seedlings for restoring degraded land and adjacent landscapes and intends to install a bio-gas plant to generate energy and reduce household fuel consumption.

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Leah Bronstein IUCN

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