Collaborative Pact for Kenya’s Lamu Wetlands

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In a groundbreaking move for the conservation of wetland ecosystems across the vast Lamu land and seascape, Wetlands International and the County Government of Lamu have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), marking a significant step forward in the joint pursuit of wetlands conservation and restoration, and ensuring their sustainable use for the benefit of people and nature.





According to the agreement, Wetlands International will provide technical expertise and support for the development and implementation of wetland conservation initiatives in Lamu County. On the other hand, the County Government of Lamu will be responsible for providing necessary resources and logistical support, in addition to facilitating community engagement and participation. The progress of this collaboration will be monitored and evaluated annually by a joint committee comprising representatives from both parties.

Present at the MoU signing ceremony were Sweden International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) representative Ayele Kebede, Wetlands International team led by CEO Han de Groot, Lamu County Deputy Governor Raphael Munyua, County Secretary Amb. Ali Abbas, County in-charge Lands, Physical Planning, Urban Development, Energy, Water and Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Works Tashrifa Mohamed and in-charge Education, ICT, Gender, Youth Affairs Owanga Sebastian, among others.

Lamu County Governor, H.E. Issa Timamy underscored the county’s contribution to the national forest cover and the need for a masterplan for wetlands. “Lamu is second after Nyeri county in terms of forest cover in the country. We are working to retain our current forest cover and where we can, restore degraded areas. Therefore, such collaborations and partnerships are key as we also hope to seek ways to address threats and drivers that originate from other landscapes in the Tana River basin which are jeopardising Lamu’s critical wetlands such as Lake Kenyatta.

Mangroves play an integral role in Lamu communities lives and livelihoods

“Mangrove wetlands have been intertwined with Lamu people’s lives for centuries past, and that is why the national government lifted the harvesting ban only in this county. We uphold the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands philosophy of wise use and also advocate for sustainable community livelihoods as an incentive to protect and restore mangroves. We encourage Wetlands International to continue with its interventions in our communities’ livelihoods and to work closely with us to cement ownership of those activities to ensure sustainability,” stated Timamy.

Wetlands International has been working with multiple stakeholders including national, county and local communities in Lamu County since 2021, focusing on mangrove conservation and restoration, sustainable livelihoods, and development of platforms that will enhance wetlands protection.

Julie Mulonga, Wetlands International Director of Eastern Africa, highlighted the organisation’s commitment to working with the Lamu County Government to achieve the goals of the pact. “We are confident that this collaboration will lead to significant and lasting impacts for the conservation of Lamu’s wetlands including mangroves and the well-being of the communities,” reiterated Mulonga.

Wetlands International CEO Han de Groot receives a gift from Lamu Governor H.E. Issa Timamy

Han de Groot acknowledged Lamu’s community as the stewards of wetland resources. “It’s truly inspiring to see how the community lives harmoniously with nature. There are valuable lessons to be shared, and we look forward to exchanging experiences in other landscapes where similar initiatives are implemented. We sincerely thank the Governor and his team for your unwavering support to our efforts,” said de Groot.

Sida’s representative, Kebede, emphasised that the initiatives carried out by Wetlands International in Lamu County aligned well with Sweden’s strategy for regional development with Africa. “Sida is therefore dedicated to maintaining its support and collaboration with Wetlands International and the County Government of Lamu in these efforts. This MoU is indeed a major step forward,” he added.

By combining resources and building on strengths, Wetlands International and the County Government of Lamu hope to pave the way for a more resilient and sustainable future, where the delicate balance between wetlands conservation and complementary community development is not only maintained but also enhanced for generations to come.