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We say NO to Yala Swamp allocation to private developer!

We say NO to Yala Swamp allocation to private developer!

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This petition has been created by Nature K. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Nature K.
started this petition to
National Land Commission, County Government of Siaya, County Government of Busia
The people of Yala swamp need your support to stop their government from violating their human rights. Join Nature Kenya to say NO to a plan by the National Land Commission to allocate 6,764 ha of Yala Swamp to Lake Agro Ltd.

The National Land Commission has not considered all necessary social, economic and environmental safeguards. This allocation violates the rights of local communities, threatens the services provided by the Swamp, and disregards intergenerational equity.

The allocation has not met the provisions of the law. There is no Environmental Impact Assessment. Local stakeholders were not sufficiently consulted. The allocation goes against the wishes of the local people.  

Local, national and global conservation goals are ignored at this time when every country is pledging to reduce climate change. Yala Swamp’s natural values for climate, livelihoods, ecological filter for Lake Victoria, global biodiversity richness and sustainable development will be lost forever.  Economic development and food security are dependent on the ecological services provided by a healthy environment.  

Nature Kenya strongly opposes this project and calls on you to sign this petition. Let us join hands to save Yala Swamp .    

Why is Yala Swamp important?  
  1. Ecosystem Services Wetlands absorb and store water in times of flood, and release water in times of drought. Wetlands store carbon as well as water and help to reduce global warming. Yala Swamp filters and cleans the water entering Lake Victoria.  
  2. Livelihoods Yala Swamp is of great socio-economic value to surrounding communities. The swamp provides vital resources for 250,000 people within its vicinity. This includes fish, cultivated crops, freshwater, fuelwood, livestock fodder, construction materials, genetic resources and natural medicines.    
  3. Biodiversity Yala Swamp is a wetland of great importance in Africa. Lakes found within the swamp harbour two endangered Cichlid fish that are extinct in Lake Victoria. Yala Swamp is one of the few refuges of the Sitatunga, a rare swamp-dwelling antelope, in Kenya. Large flocks of wetland birds, including globally threatened birds that live only in papyrus swamps, inhabit the swamp. Yala swamp is a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and an Important Bird Area (IBA).

Why are we against this allocation?  
  1. The allocation compromises valuable environmental services provided by Yala Swamp. The intended land-use conversion of the swamp will endanger the wetland’s ability to continue providing essential ecosystem services.
  2. The allocation violates the land ownership rights of indigenous communities.  NLC and Siaya County Government hold the land within Yala Swamp on behalf of the local communities. As such, they cannot allocate such huge tracts of land to a private developer.
  3. The allocation is illegal. The proposed allocation of 6,763.74 ha of Yala Swamp to Lake Agro Ltd was not subjected to any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as required by law.
  4. The allocation compromises local livelihood.  The allocation is a threat to the livelihoods of local communities like papyrus weaving, eco-tourism, fishing and crop farming.
  5. Inadequate stakeholder consultation. Stakeholders, including local communities and government agencies such as the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), were not sufficiently consulted during NLC field visits or otherwise.
  6. The allocation is not aligned with the Yala Delta Land Use Plan .  The allocation does not consider policies and proposals outlined in the Yala Delta Land Use Plan. These include regulations on commercial farming, development of irrigation and water management. The Yala Delta Land Use Plan (LUP), informed by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), seeks to balance the various interests in the swamp and safeguard biodiversity. It sets out to ensure that the wetland retains its ecological value while promoting sustainable development and livelihood improvement.
  7. Land earmarked for allocation is a community conservancy. Part of the land included in the proposed allocation is designated an Indigenous and Community Conservation Area (ICCA) as per the Yala Delta Land Use Plan.
  8. Sugarcane is the wrong crop for a wetland like Yala. Sugarcane farming is considered a threat to Yala Swamp's biodiversity. Massive loss of natural habitat, heavy use of the wetland's water, agrochemicals and fertilizer run-off, air and water pollution are some of the dangers of this kind of farming.

Nature Kenya is not against investment. Investment should not come at the cost of the well-being of the country’s important habitats.  In the end, economic development and food security are dependent on the ecological services provided by a healthy environment.  

STOP ALLOCATING WETLANDS TO PRIVATE DEVELOPERS!  

Posted (Updated )