, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – The Cabinet on Thursday discussed extensively and exhaustively the issues surrounding the continued degradation and conservation of the Mau Forests Complex, which is one of the country’s main water towers.
The Cabinet approved the implementation of the report of the Task Force that was appointed to look into the issues around the forest.
The recommendations the Cabinet agreed on are that the Government will:
" Establish an interim Coordinating Secretariat to coordinate the implementation of the Cabinet decision on the Mau Forest Complex for a period of two years.
" Establish a joint security enforcement unit to secure and protect the Mau forest.
" Survey, demarcate and issue the title deeds for the 22 forest blocks in the Mau Complex.
" Compensate third party purchasers for value where applicable.
" Identify funds for purchase of land for resettlement or compensation of all bona fide settlers in the complex.
" Commence tree planting activities in the open spaces in the Mau. Local people to be involved through Kazi Kwa Vijana program.
" Civic education to start to create awareness on the need to conserve the complex. Community forest associations that will work with the government on this program to be identified.
" Set up conflict resolution mechanisms to address conflict arising from use of natural resources management.
" Fast-track reforms in the forestry sector.
" Develop integrated restoration and management plan.
" Delineate and gazette all critical water catchment areas in the Mau Forest Complex and institute their management according to the Water Act (2002).
" Develop an investment document and convene a conference for mobilization of timely and adequate resources.
" Package communication and information kit to inform and raise awareness and convene a consensus building forum for Members of Parliament and community representatives.
" Remove over 2,500 households that have encroached into the forests affecting over 29,000 ha of government forests.
" Stop with immediate effect the allocation of any forest land.
" Reclaim back the approximately 4,010 hectares that were excised in 2001 but have not been settled and revert that land to the Government forest reserve.
" Revoke all title deeds issued either irregularly/illegally (whether in the settlement schemes or in the Maasai Mau forest), those not issued in line with the stated purposes of the settlement schemes, or titles issued in critical water catchment or biodiversity hotspots.
" Recognise title deeds issued to bona fide settlers who were issued title deeds in critical water catchment areas and biodiversity hotspots, whether in the settlement schemes or the adjudication sections.
" Settle deserving cases outside the critical catchment areas who were to be settled in the 2001 excised areas but have not yet been given land.
" Issue a notice of three months to non-deserving people who were allocated land to surrender title deeds back to the government and;
" The exercise is estimated to cost KSH37 billion which is to be raised from government budget and development partners.