The Project: The NRMP is a Specific Investment Loan (SIL) approved by the Board on March 27, 2007. The Project Appraisal Document (PAD) states that the Project's development objective is to enhance "institutional capacity to manage water and forest resources, reduce the incidence and severity of water shocks such as drought, floods and water shortage in river catchments and improve the livelihoods of communities participating in the co-management of water and forest resources." On June 10, 2011, the Project was restructured and the development objective was defined as to "improve the management of water and forest resources in selected districts."
The Request: The Request raises many concerns including some relating to human rights violations committed against Sengwer communities. Some of these acts seem to have taken place prior to the Project and other acts were committed at different times since the approval of the Project. The Requesters also list recommended actions to address their concerns.
The Panel’s investigation on the complaint of the Cherangany-Sengwer Indigenous Peoples concerning the Kenya NRMP was completed in September 2014. The Cherangany/Sengwer complained of being evicted from the forests where they have lived for generations and on which they depend economically and culturally. The NRMP aimed at operationalizing a new forest act with activities including the realignment of the forest boundaries for conservation purposes and the development of forest management plans with the participation of forest communities. The Panel found that, while not directly responsible for the evictions, Management did not properly identify this foreseeable risk and did not correctly implement safeguard measures to protect the forest dwellers. In the Panel’s view, the project’s institutional analysis did not take into account the limited and specific mandate of the implementing agency, the Kenya Forest Service, in working with communities living in and depending on access to the forest.
Corrective steps proposed by Management in response to the Panel’s findings included a major consultation process to be carried out by the government to ensure that the voices of Cherangany-Sengwer people are heard on this resettlement matter. The consultation was recently held and focused on the ancestral land rights of forest communities. Upon request of the Board of Executive Directors, Bank management will update the Board in 12 months on further actions that may be identified during ongoing dialogue and consultations. More broadly, the Bank will continue engaging with the Government of Kenya on helping develop solutions to these complex sustainable natural resource and land management issues.