Building a Sustainable Future in Kilifi through Effective Management of Environment


By Chaduchi Correspondent, Kilifi Kenya 21.00 EAT


In Summary:

  • In 2015, the world through the  UN’s General Assembly reviewed the world achievement of 8 Millennium Goals (MDGs) set 2000. As a result, they came up with 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. Kenya was a signatory to the 2015 declaration.
  • The Post-2015 Development Agenda was a process from 2012 to 2015 led by the United Nations to define the future global development framework that would succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs were developed to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015.
  • As a signatory, Kenya is aligning herself to the above Global development goals. Contextually, Kenya’s economic development is highly dependent on the natural environment since environment underpins most sectors, including agriculture and horticulture, tourism, wildlife, and the energy. In some rural areas, for instance, forests contribute three quarters of the cash income to forest-adjacent households.
  • This article features the local governance efforts (in-line with the above global goals on environment) made by the department of environment, Forestry and Solid Waste Management.
Kilifi County’s Department of Water, Environment, Forestry, Natural Resources and Solid Waste Management marking the 2019 World Environment Day in Mariakani Primary School, Kaloleni Sub-County.

The Global Journey

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030. They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

As noted, Sustainable Development Goals are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity everywhere. The 17 goals form a unique fusion of two global agendas, namely sustainable development and development cooperation. The focus of this agenda is on “universality”, which means that implementation must be ensured not only in the Global South, but also on the entire planet.

The Continental Challenge

Despite the widespread adoption of and progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, Africa continues to lag behind most of the world when it comes to socioeconomic development. In fact, a recent report by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa—”Africa 2030: Sustainable Development Goals Three-Year Reality Check”—reveals that minimal progress has been made and, in some instances, there is complete stagnation. More than half of the global poor (those who earn under $1.90 PPP per day) are found in Africa. One in three Africans is at the risk of food insecurity.

The National Progress

According to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the SDG Center for Africa (SDGC/A) Africa SDG Index published in 2018, progress towards the SDGs varies widely by country and region. In North Africa, four out of five countries with data are on track to achieving SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and half of the countries in Eastern Africa are on track to achieving SDG 15 (life on land). In Central, Southern and Western Africa, 30 of 35 countries with data are on track to meeting SDG 13 (climate action). Although progress towards the SDGs is being made throughout Africa, no country is on track to meet SDGs 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 4 (quality education), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) or 14 (life below water).

Kilifi County Noise Pollution Awareness Campaign is a campaign manned by the Department of Forestry, Environment and Solid Waste Management.

Global Sustainable Development Goals number 11 ton 15 touch on matters of Environment. The environment sector in Kenya is a cross-sectoral and cross-cutting pillar that involves all natural resources, their exploitation, management and conservation. Some of the sectors include water resources, forestry & wildlife, marine & fisheries, tourism, agriculture & livestock, and mineral resources amongst other sectors. These sectors are responsible for most of the country’s GDP (more than 60%) and employ a majority of the population. The environment is also the main source of livelihood for most of the human population in the country. Hence, the environment is a pivotal pillar for economic and sustainable development in the country .

The Local Story

True to this reality, the advent of devolution governance made possible by 2010 Constitution spawned the Kilifi County’s department of water, environment, forestry, natural resources and solid waste management. This department is divided into two sectors namely; water and environment. The environment sector has four thematic areas which include forestry, natural resource conservation, solid waste management and environmental conservation.

The Vision of the department is have Kilifi County with Safe Water and Healthy Environment for Wealth Creation Through its Mission, the department exists to provide safe water, protection, conservation and sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. The following are the core functions of the department:

  • Maintain a clean and healthy environment for sustainable development;
  • Provision of water and sanitation services;
  • Sustainable management of natural resources and
  • Development and conservation of forest resources.


Chief Officer leading the County in County tree planting launch looking on is Hon. Teddy Mwambire, MP for Ganze Consituency

The department signed transition implementation programme (TIPs) with Kenya forest services in 2016 which devolved; forest extension services, tree nursery establishment, protection of the county forests and rehabilitation of degraded sites including the water catchment areas. Since 2018, the department has managed to plant approximately 3.8 Million tree seedlings across the County. In 2020 the department targets to plant 5 Million seedlings and a challenge of 1 Million tree planting within one hour.

Urban/Towns 10
 Degraded areas 27
Figure 1 % of Species


On matters of solid waste, the department has purchased four compactors to increase efficiency in solid waste management. The department has also undertaken community sensitization on sustainable solid waste management through walks and clean ups both on land and along the beaches.

Clean Up exercise led by the County Department of Environment

For the purposes of achieving a circular economy on waste management, the department has been empowering community based organization to undertake waste recycling and reusing. Several groups in the County are already undertaking plastic waste recycling. The department is also working to empower more women and youth groups to produce manure from organic waste which forms 60% of the total waste production in the County.

Newly acquired (by the County Department of Environment) Garbage Truck


Kilifi County is blessed with Minerals which include
Manganese, Limestone, coral blocks, Iron ore, ballast, salt and  silica sand among others.  In 2018, the department purchased blocks
machine cuts for community groups for the purposes of economic empowerment and
natural resource conservation. In the FY 2020/2021, the department has budgeted
for purchase of bricks (makiga) making machine for bricks making. This will
reduce the level of environmental degradation as well as creating jobs for the
local community.

In addition, the department has spearheaded formation of community development agreement committee (CDAs) in Jaribuni ward to enable investors in the area participate in development projects of the area. The process of forming more committees for other areas in the County is ongoing.

Department’s Geologist sensitizing community on Natural resource benefits and conservation
Chief offficer (left) handing over machine cut and generators to community


On environmental conservation, the department also focus on air pollution control and noise pollution abatement. This has been done through sensitization and enforcement of environmental legislation. The department has also enacted several environmental legislation which include; Kilifi County environment (control and regulation) Act No. 17 of 2016, Kilifi County Solid waste Act 2019, Forest conservation and management Act 2018, Kilifi County Policy 2016 and Kilifi  County Climate change Fund Bill 2019. The department has also developed air quality regulation 2018. The Department also has in place the county environment committee members which was already gazetted. Below are different pictorial illustrations for the department’s work in environmental conservation.

Kilifi County Deputy Governor (centre), Environment CEC (left) and Chief Officer addressing the Media during the 2019 World Environment Day
Kilifi Residents making unconditional demands for a clean water, clean energy, and clean environment in Kilifi County.
Celebrations of 2019 World Environment Day in Kilifi County
Department Staff and Stakeholders during the 2019 World Environment Day

Local development efforts need to be well aligned to the Universal development agenda because that’s the world development theme. Though ambitious, the Sustainable development goals are transformative. The passion and conviction in our world’s new development agenda must each and every development actor with hope and energy to do their part in making it happen. And this is what the Department of Environment, Forestry and Solid Waste Management is doing.

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