Achieving sustainable Devt: what we need to do

February 26, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – The Government of Kenya launched the Vision 2030 in mid 2008, which aim s to transform Kenya into a middle income country providing a high quality life to all citizens by the year 2030.Developments and launching of the vision is laudable and requires to be supported by all stakeholders in Kenya’s development especially the primary beneficiaries of the development – the citizens of Kenya.

A review of the Vision shows that all the implementation of the plan, the government will have to rigorously apply the concept of sustainable development not only in the envisaged programmes  but also in a bid to restore environmental degradation caused by decades of sustainable development such as pollution to death of the Nairobi River, development of a culture of impunity in environmental pollution among the community, private and public sector and the ignorance that certain natural resources like water and land are non renewable.

Realising sustainable development will be further complicated by the fact that Kenya’s population appears to double every 20 years. Vision 2030 does not address these vital issues of population growth even though the plan will run for 22 years. The question therefore arises if Vision is pegged on the current population while in fact that population would have doubled by 2030. In essence, the gains achieved with the vision risk being eroded by the rise in population.

As population grows there will be escalation of the scramble for the non renewable resources such as water and land resulting in environmental degradation and hence causing development to be unsustainable. The author of this paper believes that it is important for Kenya to map out its resources especially water and land and determine the maximum population that those resources can sustainable carry. Otherwise, there may soon come a time within the next 50 to 100 years when Kenya will not be able to provide sufficient water or space for most of its population .One shudders to imagine the outcome of such situation.

In the wild where animals population are naturally regulated, there are cycles of maximum carrying capacity of the land being achieved followed by periods of mass deaths that bring down the population and gives the environment time to regenerate and the population grows a gain. Could that happen with the human population? The author thinks that it is possible, if the indicators of water scarcity, frequent crop failures and droughts are not seriously addressed.

Vincent Ongato Rapando

Managing Director,

Kenya Exposition 2004 Ltd

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