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Amended Convention Text - as adopted in 2010

Protocol for the Protection of the Marine and Coastal Environment (LBSA Protocol)









Convention Text - as adopted in 1985

Protocol on Protected

Protocol on pollution emergencies








11 September 1990


Country Profile: Kenya


The Kenyan coastline, extending from the border with Somali in the north to Tanzania in the south is about 600 km long and is endowed with rich natural resources which support the local as well as the national economy. Some of these resources include terrestrial forests, mangrove forests, fisheries, coral reefs, sandy beaches and seagrass beds. These resources are of immense economic and cultural value to the local people and the nation at large. Additionally, they provide many ecological services, which cannot be marketed and as a result, their real value tends to be underestimated.

The coastal environment also supports many industries which significantly contribute to the national income. The two main industries supporting the local economy are shipping (45%) and tourism (15%).

The Kenyan Coast features a diverse marine environment including estuaries, mangroves, sea grass beds and intertidal reef platforms and coral reefs, which are vital for the diversity and reproduction of marine ecosystems. These coastal ecosystems are regarded as some of Kenya's most valuable ecosystems, and some are protected by the six marine national parks and reserves. These coastal ecosystems make up the basis for the livelihood of large coastal population, but do on other hand face serious threats from ever increasing human pressure through tourism, industrial pollution, over fishing, destructive fishing, mangrove logging and other unsustainable use of marine resources.

Further Resources

 To access documents, reports&publications, data, map files, services (image, data and geographic) , photographs, and projects on Kenya, kindly visit the Nairobi Convention Clearinghouse and Information Sharing System and the Kenya Clearinghouse and Information Sharing System.

  Kenya Final State of Coast Report launched on 1 April, 2010. Download

 Focal Points Institutions roles and terms of reference. More

The highly productive ecosystems in the coastal area play crucial role in the socio-economic development of the country. The coastal economy depends heavily on tourism and the tourism sector is dependent on coastal and marine resources, but the inhabitats and the visitors to the coast are not the only pressure on the coastal and marine environment.

The Kenya population is estimated at 32.0 - 33.5 million people, with approximately 3.0 million people or about 9.0% of the national population residing in the coastal areas (GOK, 2000; UNDP, 2006).

Kenya’s continental shelf is relatively narrow, generally between 5 and 10 km wide, with depths dropping below 200m within less than 4km. However it widens significantly at the mouths of rivers Tana and Sabaki, exceeding 15km off the northern end of Ungwana bay. The shelf is sedimentary in nature, dominated by fine sands, silt and mud derived from terrigenous sources (Obura, 2001). Beyond the shelf, the seabed slopes away to depths in excess of 4,000 m. Although narrow, the continental shelf serves important roles as fishing grounds for thousands of artisanal fishermen living along the coast. The area of continental shelf in Kenya has been estimated at 19,120 km2. Of this, some 10,994 km2 is considered trawlable (UNEP, 1998).



Climate refers to mean conditions of the atmosphere in terms of meteorological parameters such as wind, solar radiation, temperature, pressure, humidity, cloudiness, precipitation etc and their variations at a given locality averaged over a long span of time (usually over thirty years).

Climate plays an important role in man's culture, how and where he lives, in health and sustaining flora and faunal life. Climate change refers to variation in earth's global climate or in regional climates over time. It describes changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years.

Anthropogenically induced global climate change has profound implications for marine ecosystems and the economic and social systems that depend upon them, For instance burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) and the clearing of forests , have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, which causes global warming.

Climate change indicators in Kenya

Indicators of climate change include climatic extremes such as floods and droughts ,large diurnal temperature variations and increased greenhouse gas emission among many others. Extreme climatic events are associated with disasters and increase in incidences of diseases. Incidences of vector and water-borne diseases increase during periods of heavy rains and flooding, while droughts and high temperatures cause famine and malnutrition thereby weakening resistance to diseases. All these can give indicators which provide opportunities for sensitizing government decision makers ,business and industry entrepreneurs, research and civil society organizations and global community to prioritize climate change issues and to guide policy formulation as well as to foster common understanding in initiating actions in mitigating adverse impacts of climate change. Indicators are also useful in determining the capacity required to deal with climate change issues.

Climate change issues in Kenya

The challenge of Kenya is to develop strategies which would promote sustainable development without compromising in increased emission of GHGs.It is therefore necessary to develop appropriate policies and response strategies to manage GHGs emission. Policies and strategies must be based on reliable inventory of GHGs emissions and sinks. Such issues include; " Clean development mechanism, " Awareness and understanding of climate change issues " Climate change mitigation strategies and policy frameworks " Convention Negotiation capacity including issues of equity. " Synergy with other MEAs " Research and systematic observations

" Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change "

Transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Vulnerability and Adaptation Key sectoral vulnerability and adaptation issues from the previous studies are:-

  1. Agriculture Climate change projections to the year 2030 indicate increasing temperature changes with doubling of carbon dioxide levels from baseline scenarios resulting into a decline in precipitation in semi-arid areas. This will lead to reduction in maize yields. The impact of climate change on livestock would be shortage of forage, increased disease incidences and breakdown of marketing infrastructure. Kenya periodically experience extreme weather events, including cyclic droughts and floods which results massive crop failures, livestock losses as the country is over dependent on rain fed agricultural production. The two also result in land degradation in terms of soil erosion and food shortages, particularly in the arid and semi-arid areas of the country, and over-exploitation of resources .Incidences of pests and diseases also increase in crops and livestock. Changes in climate change therefore have a direct effect on agriculture. The country is implementing various measures to adapt and mitigate the effects/impacts of climate change in agriculture. These includes different technologies such as " irrigation " Development of early maturing and high yielding crop varieties " Adaptation of agricultural technologies from analogue environments " Drought and pest resistant crop varieties and disease resistant livestock breeds " Development of an early warning systems that involve drought monitoring and seasonal forecasts with respect to food security are being implemented. Different types of physical infrastructure such as contour terraces and cut-off drains ton control land degradation in sloppy agricultural landscapes as an integral part of soil and water conservation and promotion of agro-forestry at farm level are some of the responses. " Traditional adaptation strategies and measures e.g. Traditional technologies, crop diversification through inter cropping ,mixed farming at farm and agro ecosystems levels. Conservation of agricultural biodiversity ,especially indigenous crop varieties and livestock breeds are also a major adaptation and mitigation responses to climate change.
  2. Aquatic and Marine Resources: The coastal environment and habitats support some of the most diverse ecological resources in the country. These include: mangrove forest, coral reefs, sea grass beds, and rocky and sandy shores. Fisheries activities are pivotal to the household economies of riparian communities. The bulk of the country's fisheries resources come from Lake Victoria, while the aesthetic value of the coastal resources contributes significantly to the national economy, mainly through tourism. Climate change is expected to alter the Physical, Biophysical and Biochemical characteristics of marine ecosystems in Kenya. The Kenyan coast is regarded as one of the most vulnerable to sea level rise.
  3. Water : Increasing human population will exert pressure on Kenya's hydrological systems and water resources. This will be further compounded by climate change impacts. The ability to adapt to variability and change will be affected by a range of institutional, technological and cultural factors at national, regional and local levels. A Wide range of adaptation techniques have been developed and applied in the water resources sector in the country, including flood defences, promotion of efficiency is in water use in all sectors. Rehabilitation of water catchment areas, construction of dams and pans in the dry lands, drilling of boreholes, improvement of sanitation and implementation of policy and strategies on improvement water resources management at all levels. It is based on an adaptive, collaboratively developed vision of desired future conditions that integrates ecological, socioeconomic and institutional perspectives applied within a geographical framework, and defined primarily by natural ecological boundaries. A wide range of adaptation techniques have been developed and applied in the water resources sector in the country, including:- " Flood defences " Promotion of efficiency in water use and in all sectors " Rehabilitation of water catchment areas " Construction of dams and pans in the dry lands " Drilling boreholes " Improvement of sanitation and implementation of policy and strategies on improvement of water resources management at all levels
  4. Health and Safety : Climate and weather variabilities affect natural processes, which in turn affect human health. These include increased incidences of vector and water borne and vector diseases (malaria, bilhaziah, typhoid) and poor nutrition. Consequently, development of preventive mechanisms for the diseases, surveillance of the epidemics that follow episodic weather events and improvement of in health infrastructure are the main policy challenges to be addressed. Adaptation and mitigation measures Policy options on monitoring and responding to increases in incidences of vector- and water borne diseases due to climate change. This include decentralization of decision making ,resource allocation , and management and delivery of health services.Intergral to this is the anti-malaria campaign, control of tse tse flies and other vector-and water borne diseases and improvement of sanitation.
  5. Wildlife and Tourism: Kenya's wildlife is largely found in dry arid and semi-arid areas that are marginal for arable agricultural production. Wildlife and tourism are important in Kenya's economy as a sector which makes significant contributions to the country's economic development terms of GDP, foreign exchange earnings and employment, both formal and informal. The net effect would be increased human wildlife conflicts with respect to use of scarce resources such as water and pasture. Kenya is well known for her conservation efforts. Various biodiversity conservation efforts are ongoing in different aspects of biodiversity other than wildlife.
  6. Energy and Industry: The main sources of energy used in Kenya are biomass, fossil fuel, and electricity. The energy is mainly consumed by industry and households in urban centers. The main factor which contributes to yield fluctuations in hydro-power water reservoirs is the reducing levels of rainfall and melting and reducing glaciers on mount Kenya which is the main source of major rivers feeding the hydro-powerdams.The situation is further exacerbarated by deforestation, including catchments degradation, and land conversion for agriculture. These have the effect of reducing the flow of the streams and rivers that feed the dams. Melting glaciers on Mount Kenya, which is a, further complicates the situation. This makes the country susceptible to climate change and climate induced rainfall variability that affects hydro-power generation. Adaptation Measures Different measures have been put in place to address energy requirement for industrial as well as other sectors while responding to the needs for adaptation of to climate change. The country has undertaken to supplement herb energy requirements through the development of renewable energy resources such as geothermal, wind, and solar.Infact the country has developed the national wind atlas and solar and geothermal maps as part of overall efforts towards adaptation in energy sector. Other efforts include energy use efficiency both in energy sector itself and in the industrial sector. Regional cooperation in energy development, transmission and use is also being pursued by the East African Community Partners of Southern African power pool. Specific actions on energy use efficiency project under Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Introduction of cleaner production technologies concept under the Kenya National Cleaner Production Center (KNCPC). Mitigation Measures " Promotion of conservation of all forms of energy " Promotion of energy conservation is promoted through the use of energy audits and improvement of efficiency of institutional stoves, " Exploration and development of hydro,geothermal,solar and wind resources, " Extension of the oil pipeline in an effort to reduce fugitive Green House Gases (GHGs) and the need for road tankers are also emitters of GHGs, " Improvement in transmission and distribution of electricity, " Adoption of environmentally friendly technologies ,including co-generation from wastes, especially agricultural wastes, " Shifting from heavy fuel oil to wood fuel/to hydro-power, " Energy efficiency and energy conservation in industry ,a project of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers " Refinements and modifications of the combustions process for the purpose of reducing pollutant emissions by the tea factories in Kenya, " Promotion of improved waste management by industry is now an integral part of the overall requirement of national environmental governance.


Ecosystem management is an approach to natural resource management which aims to sustain ecosystems to meet both ecological and human needs in future. It can also be defined as an approach to maintaining or restoring the composition, structure, function and delivery of services of natural and modified ecosystems for the goal of achieving sustainability. Virtually the degradation of ecosystems in Kenya are as result of human actions which have in turn afforested the ability of ecosystems to provide benefits to man. The impacts of human actions on ecosystems are slow but apparent. This is a result of increase in population pressure of man, unsustainable uses of resources. The coastal ecosystems are terrestrial, inter tidal and sub-tidal ecosystems usually forms an independent continuum, but can often be divided into easy recognizable zones or habitats dominated and even physically structured by key species (mangrovesforests, seagrass beds) or classes (corals). Management Strategies " Carry out an inventory of species of concern and develop guidelines for their management " Develop proper land use /land policy to include conservation and protection of critical habitats. The habitats should then be mapped and gazzeted. " Integrated the various conservation policies. " Ensure use of selective harvesting methods and appropriate technology " Create employment ,policies on population growth, promote positive and discourage negative cultural beliefs, promote awareness programmes " Alternative products and livelihoods should be encouraged .The local communities capacity should be strengthened and involved in ecosystem management.


Hazardous substance means any chemical,waste,gas,medicine,drug,plant,animalor micro-organism which is likely to be injurious to human health or the environment. Pollution means any direct or indirect alteration of physical,thermal,chemical,biological, or radio-active properties of any part of the environment by discharging,emitting,or depositing wastes so as to affect any beneficial use adversely to cause a condition which is hazardous or potentially hazardous to the public health, safety or welfare, or to animals ,birds,wildlife,fish or aquatic life, or to plants or environment.

Pollution issue in marine environment is caused by anthropogenic activities. Some originate basically from land based sources e.g. from domestic sources, agrochemicals from agricultural activities in the catchment areas and from industrial sources. Chemical plants located near Mombassa pose risk of toxic effluents and spillages which carry complex organics and heavy metals into the coastal environment. Textile mills which are also found near the town are another potential source of concern through the toxic dyes which they often discharge.

On the other hand , the effluents from fish processing plants which are also common on the coast ,are not expected to be toxic but they are high in Biochemical Oxygen Demand and organic nutrients leading to anoxic conditions and eutrophication respectively in receiving water. The growing level of industrialization in Mombassa is causing considerable concern as a result of environmental impact. The discharge of industrial and domestic waste water in the creek has resulted in pollution and chemicals are known to leach from the solid waste dump established in the mangrove forest .Tar balls have also been common on some beaches.

There are very few industries that have facilities for effluent pre-treatment before disposal and among those that have treatment systems is the petroleum refinery. A number of industries use septic tanks/soakage pits, vertical drains or direct discharge into the ocean. However the coastal environment is also at risk from maritime transportation activities at the port and shipping along the coastline. It is estimated that at any given time there are 50 ships in the major shipping lanes off the Kenya coast, approximately 9 are oil tankers with capacities ranging from 50,000- 250,000 tons.

Most of these coastal tankers traffic passes 250 nautical miles offshore as well as the hinterland countries of Uganda,Rwanda,Burundi,Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, north eastern Tanzania and Somalia the threat of oil spill is obvious e.g. A ship carrying 78,000 tons of crude oil hit an embankment in the port of Mombassa rupturing its hull and pouring over 200 tons of the commodity into the harbor in early April 2005,However the impact was played down by environmental managers from NEMA who said that the spillage was in time using local resources and expertise provided by the disaster management groups in Kenya. The worst oil spill was in 1998 when 15,000 tons of oil gushed out of storage tanks at a power generation plant leading to the worst ecological disaster where acres of mangroves which were swept by the spill dried up. .Further oil pollution may result from normal oil transportation activities such as ship to shore transfers and upland tank storage at the port.


" In recognition of the risks posed by oil pollution the Government of Kenya and the private oil industry have decided to develop a National Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan (NOSRCP) with the purpose of enabling a speedy and effective response by the response Team at Kenya Ports Authority within the territorial waters of Kenya.

An important element of this plan is the mapping of the coastal resources and development of an Environmentally Sensitivity Atlas showing the sensitivity of the coast to marine oil spill. " Establishment and maintenance of Marine protected areas (MPAs) " Carrying out environmental education and awareness to local communities to sensitize them on the effects of marine pollution. " Developing guidelines and regulations to manage and prevent pollution of fresh and sea water.


Given increased pressures on ecosystems due to increase in population ,the development and diffusion of technologies that can increase the efficiency of resource use or reduce impacts on the ecosystems are essential.e.g Cleaner products strategy It encompasses cleaner eco-efficiency ,waste minimization, pollution prevention or green productivity. It is a win win strategy protecting the environment, consumers, workers while improving industrial efficiency, profitability and competitiveness. Cleaner cooperate develops a continuous improvement culture among industries. Aims Of Cleaner Production:- o Building the national cleaner production capacities o Fostering dialogue between industry and Government o Enhancing Investments for transfer and development of environmentally sound technologies The implication of cleaner production have significantly improved the competitiveness of industries due to:- " Reduced production costs " Improved corporate image " Reduced negative environmental impacts of existing production processes due to efficient use of water ,energy and raw materials while also ensuring healthy and safety of workers. Quality Control Efficiency Tests The companies have achieved among others process efficiency tests and quality control procedures documented ,waste measurements to culture initiated by companies, reduced water and energy consumption, reduced generation of wastewater, improved process performance ,machine efficiencies being recorded and trended and reduction of non-conforming products, other products includes:- o Fostering of teamwork and workers morale o Improved compliance with environmental standards o Optimal use of raw materials realized o Preventive maintenance program adopted o Huge monetary savings realized o Generation of useful by-products o Improved Industrial Ecology


A natural disaster can be defined as a serious disruption triggered by hazard causing human ,material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of those affected to cope with. Natural hazards are categorized as being : " Weather-related e.g. storms,drought,flooding,heat and cold shocks, " Geographical e.g. earthquake, volcano and landslides Natural disasters often inflict serious long as well as short term economic damage. Negative impacts have been registered for economic growth, development and poverty reduction. Natural disasters such as floods, drought and the recent landslide in kakamega are the major disasters pronounced in Kenya.

The most affected areas by floods in Kenya are e.g. Tana River,Budalangi where most people die, loss of property, out break of water-borne and water related diseases every year. On the other hand drought has affected arid and semi arid areas where pastoralist community loss their livestock e.g. the north eastern province.Therfore most of these natural disasters like floods and drought are as a result of climate change due to anthropogenic activities like deforestation, poor land use practices etc.Kenyans have been displaced due to conflict, the drought, ethnic tensions, and government evictions. Kenyans displaced by natural disasters are provided more attention and assistance by both government and international community compared to conflict induced Internal Displacement Monitoring Center. For drought-induced displacement ,the World food programme, in partnership with te government, implements an Emergency Operation (known as the EMOP) and coordinate drought relief amongst the UN,the government and NGOs though the Kenya food security meeting (KFSM). Kenya's internal displaced situation is diverse ,and thus requires a holistic response which ensures that due consideration for assistance and protection is provided to all Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) groups. A holistic responses also requires that root causes of displacement are analysed along with the long term needs of IDPs with the aim of eventually obtaining durable solutions. The overall goal of ensuring an environment of safety and security , and one which allows all IDPs to exercise their fundamental rights, should be the primary goal in any response strategy. UN in Kenya has played an important role:- " By working closely with the government ,the civil society, and other UN agencies in the area of capacity building for disaster management,mitigation,preparedness and prevention. " It has facilitates the development of policies and programmes that incorporates conflict prevention and peace building, " Presently the programme is supporting the development of district contingency plans in arid and semi arid lands, and development of national policy on disaster management including a policy on climate early warning .


  • Kenya National Status Report on the Coastal and Marine Environment
  • Report compiled by Mr. Stephen Katua, Nairobi Convention Focal Point for Kenya

National Focal Points

Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu
Director General
National Environment Authority (NEMA)
PO Box. 67839-00200 Popo Road, Off Mombasa Road
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: + 254 20 6005522
Fax: + 254 20 6008997
EMail: dgnema@nema.go.ke