Friday, September 20, 2019
CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu (centre) in a group photo with the newly appointed Kenya Forest Service’s Board outside the KFS headquarters

CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu (centre) in a group photo with the newly appointed Kenya Forest Service’s Board outside the KFS headquarters

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu inaugurated the newly appointed Kenya Forest Service Board at the KFS headquarters in Karura on Monday March the 18th 2015.

Speaking during the Inauguration, Prof. Wakhungu said the Board is expected to provide leadership to KFS on areas of policy development, and to formulate the institutions long term strategy and the strategic objectives of achieving the strategy. The Board is also expected to ensure that KFS has sufficient resources to achieve its objectives, and to ensure prudent financial management. To achieve these objectives, the Board will be expected to maintain a close but independent working relationship with the Director, KFS.

The main responsibility of the Board includes:

  1. To ensure efficient management of the Service; consider and recommend establishment of state forests as well as determination and alteration of boundaries of state forests.
  2. To approve policies of the service affecting forestry practice and development, formulate policies for the administration of Kenya Forestry College, consider all management agreements, including the granting of management licenses for state plantation forests
  3. To establish and review policies and rules for marketing of and trade in forest produce.
  4. To advising the Cabinet Secretary on all matters pertaining to the establishment, development, conservation and utilization of forests in Kenya; among several other functions.
CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu shows the code of Governance book, meant to be followed by the appointed board

CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu shows the code of Governance book, meant to be followed by the appointed board

The Cabinet Secretary said, the Government has developed new guidelines for the management of State Corporation. The guidelines are well stipulated in a publication “mwongozo” The code of Governance for state corporations ‘Mwongozo’, the code of governance for State Corporations, endorsed and supported by His Excellency the President of the Republic, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta. These regulations underpin the expectations placed upon the KFS Board, to steer the Service to efficient, transparent and accountable service delivery.

The CS noted that Kenya Forest Service has already embarked on implementing the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution on Devolved functions. To this end, KFS has rolled out Transition Implementation Plans (TIPs) which guide County Governments in implementation of devolved forestry functions such as forest extension services in farms, county lands and other public areas.

Kenya Forest Service was formed through the Forest Act 2005 and operationalized in 2007. During the past eight (8) years since its inception, Kenya Forest Service has made tremendous progress in forest sector reforms through implementation of the Forest Act, and the able leadership and  the guidance of the last two KFS Boards. Notably, KFS formed ten (10) Forest Conservancy Committees that assist the Board in the efficient management of forests. KFS has also partnered with Community Forest Associations at the local levels who have played a key role in conservation of forests. In addition, KFS has endorsed close to one hundred (100) Participatory Forest Management Plans which guide management of forest resources in collaboration with forest adjacent communities.

“Through implementation of the Forest Act, I’m glad to report that cases of forest loss due to irregular excisions and destruction have now been curbed. Indeed, my Ministry has spearheaded the recovery of over 19,000 hectares of Mau Forest Complex, and over 16,000 hectares of Embobut Forest, said Wakhungu.

In addition, my Ministry has overseen the gazettement of over two hundred thousand hectares of new forests which are now secured for rehabilitation.  KFS has also made great strides in technological advancements, such as the Forest Information Systems laboratory, which provides satellite imaging from which data and maps are derived to show the extent of forest resources and status of forests in the country. Due to the available technology, it can now be confirmed that Kenya’s forest cover stands at 7 percent of the total land area. Efforts to increase Kenya’s forest cover to a target of ten (10) percent as stipulated in the Constitution and national development blueprint Vision 2030, will be one of the key mandate of the Kenya Forest Service Board.

Prof. Wakhungu said, her Ministry and the service have also done the review of the Forest Act to align it to the Constitution, and the draft Forest Conservation and Management Bill 2015 has already been submitted to the Constitution Implementation Commission.

 The KFS Board is established under section 6 of the Forests Act, 2005 comprising of 16 members from the line Ministries and eight persons from the private sector. The Board derives its mandate from the Forest Act and the state Corporations Act.

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