Comments submitted on the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Mumias irrigated sugarcane project.
Cost benefit analysis study commissioned by us and Nature Kenya.
Three public hearings are held in the Delta with local communities. The farming community support the project, while pastoralists are against it.
A cost benefit analysis shows that the Mumias project documents underestimate the cost, overestimate the profit, and ignore fees for water extraction, compensation for lost livelihoods, chemical pollution, loss of tourism earnings, and wildlife. The study shows that annual gains from current economic uses of the Delta by farmers, pastoralists and fishing communities stand at £30 million, compared to the £1.25 million that the sugarcane project promises to generate.
11 June 2008
The National Environment Management Authority gives approval for the Tana Integrated Sugar Project to go ahead.
Nature Kenya joins efforts with other members of the Kenya Wetlands Forum in a civil society to campaign against The National Environment Management Authority's decision on a number of different fronts.
BirdLife Partners write to National Environment Management Authority and the Kenya Government, expressing their concerns in regards to the sugarcane project. In spite of the awareness campaign, various government officials endorse the project, saying it must go ahead. Five members of the Kenya Wetlands Forum apply for, and get, stay orders against the sugarcane project at the Malindi High Court. The Kenya Wildlife Service convene a stakeholder meeting in Nairobi to initiate the process to get the Tana River Delta listed as a Ramsar site.
Launch of Tana film: Is Tana's sugar really sweet?
RSPB staff visit the Delta with Nature Kenya.
18 June 2009
High Court in Malindi dismisses the Tana Delta case (with costs) due to a technicality.
NGOs consider relaunching the legal case.
The Tana River Delta features in the BBC TV programme Future of Food in which George Alagiah travels the world to reveal a growing global food crisis that could affect the planet in the years ahead.
TARDA (Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority) are allocated 40,000 ha in the Tana Delta to grow maize and rice in response to the food crisis. Nature Kenya officers on the ground facilitated the formation of a site support group (caretaker group) for the Delta and discussions with the local community on management planning are ongoing.
Nature Kenya staff visit the Delta to get community support and commitment to a new court case. Potential plaintiffs come forward from the farming, pastoral, fishing and conservation communities. One village is served with an eviction notice.
Nature Kenya starts the management planning process for the Delta by undertaking community consultations and producing draft village action plans.
A British company G4 Industries Limited propose a new project to grow oil seed crops (crambe, castor and sunflower) in an area of 28,000 ha in the Delta and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is being prepared.
Nature Kenya and the RSPB submit comments on the ESIA objecting to the project because of potential impacts on wildlife, people and water and the need for agreement of a strategic masterplan for the Delta before individual projects proceed. Tana features on BBC Radio 4's 'From Our Own Correspondent'.
Nature Kenya and another Kenyan NGO the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) join forces to support the communities to file a new legal case and identify a team of lawyers. The Tana case continues to get media coverage in Kenya. Nature Kenya and BirdLife International submit information about the Tana case to the Ramsar Convention in advance of their Standing Committee meeting.
Nature Kenya holds a consultative meeting with location and District level leaders on the proposed Tana Delta management plan.
Staff from Nature Kenya and EAWLS hold a meeting with the local people in the Delta who will represent the rest of the community in court. A public hearing is held in the Delta to discuss the G4 Industries proposed project - those opposed to the project are intimidated.
RSPB staff visit Kenya and together with Nature Kenya have meetings with NEMA, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Ministry of Energy and EAWLS to discuss the Tana case. Despite our objections, NEMA grant consent for the G4 Industries project.
Nature Kenya organise a national media campaign on Tana. Nature Kenya, the RSPB and BirdLife International submit comments on the ESIA for a new proposal by Flow Energy Limited (an Australian company) to explore for oil and gas in parts of the Delta. We object to the project because of weaknesses in the ESIA including lack of vital baseline data on biodiversity and because of the need for a strategic plan for the Delta to be in place before individual developments are permitted.
RSPB launch a letter writing campaign. The new court case is filed by representatives of Tana Delta local communities in the Kenyan High Court and a first hearing held. Four of the defendants (including NEMA, TARDA and the Kenyan Attorney General) attend. The lawyers for the communities apply to amend the case in light of the newly adopted Kenyan Constitution, which includes stronger environmental and land rights. They also apply for injunctions. The injunctions are not granted - the judge feels the case should be amended and widely advertised first before the request for such orders is considered. The court case is widely covered in the Kenyan media.
Expeditions to the Delta to collect further data for the Ramsar listing find over 3000 globally threatened Madagascar Pratincole. With a world population estimated between 5000 and 10000 this means Kenya's Tana Delta is likely to be a prime wintering site.
Nature Kenya convene a national stakeholder meeting to discuss a potential conservation and development master plan for the Delta. The meeting is extremely successful with over 50 attendees, including senior officials from government agencies such as TARDA, NEMA, the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), plus Mumias Sugar company. The result is that a team of agencies was constituted to lead the plan production process with NEMA and KWS as conveners and Nature Kenya facilitating the process. The meeting is featured in prime TV news and on many radio stations (including the BBC). A team of four Nature Kenya Officers and five KWS staff visit the Delta to conduct an awareness campaign on the importance of listing the Delta as a Ramsar site. The visit is very productive – the local people are supportive of Ramsar listing.
An EIA for the Bedford Biofuel proposal to cultivate jatropha (an oil seed biofuel crop) on 50,000 ha in six group ranches in the Delta is published. Nature Kenya, the RSPB and BirdLife International submit comments objecting to the project.
Two of the defendants in the community court case TARDA and WRMA (the Water Resources Management Authority) file responses. A court hearing to consider the injunction applications is scheduled for 16 December, but is adjourned until 14 February due to the court vacation. TARDA forcibly evicts 800 Wardei households (more than 2000 pastoralist people) from Gamba Village. The villagers moved to a remote area with no clean water, no health services and the nearest school is 7.5 kilometers away.
Bedford Biofuels organise a public hearing for their project during which it emerges that the company has leased 164,000 ha of land in six ranches bordering the eastern part of the Delta. The meeting has a charged atmosphere with bus loads of ‘supporters’ of the project being paid to attend.
RSPB staff visit the Delta with Nature Kenya staff and visit Wardei pastoralists from the displaced Gamba village who were forcibly evicted to make way for the TARDA rice and maize project for food security. We also visit the village of Ozi on the coastal edge of the delta where Nature Kenya has been working with the community to establish a site support group, which is now in the process of establishing a formal Community Conserved Area (CCA).
NEMA writes to Flow Energy requesting clarification on several issues and requiring the developer to develop a working relationship with all stakeholders including Nature Kenya. Sadly this does not happen.
The RSPB Birds magazine has a feature article on the plight of the Delta. 500 pastoralists hold demonstrations in Kipao in the Delta against the grabbing of their land by government and foreign corporations. The former residents of Gamba village write to the Kenya Prime Minister urging him to investigate their situation.
A court hearing scheduled for 14 February is delayed until April following requests by some of the Respondents for more time to file their responses. About 100 people from Tana Delta travel overnight to Nairobi to attend the hearing. They were joined by another 50 people who come from Tana Delta but live in Nairobi. The community representatives hold a demonstration within the Nairobi High Court grounds and then walk to the Vice President's office to present the Tana issues to him. The VP promises to look into the issue and raise it with the President. The media cover the demo giving the Tana case a much higher national profile.
16 - 20 February 2011
A team of Nature Kenya staff visit the Delta to increase awareness of the ongoing court case. The visit is a great success - all 12 villages visited are supportive of the case. TARDA has issued two more pastoralist villages (Onkolde and Galili) with verbal eviction notices. TARDA is employing a different strategy with farming villages especially in Salama Location. Here it has farmed all round the villages denying the villagers access to much land for subsistence farming, in the hope that without a means to livelihoods the farmers will choose to leave their villages.
19 February 2011
Prime Minister Raila Odinga visits Garsen in the Delta. Community members organise themselves and demonstrate before the PM against the grabbing of their land. The PM promises to look into the issue but in his speech steers clear of mentioning development projects in Tana Delta.
Serah Munguti Nature Kenya's Advocacy and Communications Manager makes a moving presentation on the Tana and Dakatcha cases at the RSPB Members' Weekend in York.
Nature Kenya and BirdLife International submit information about the Tana case to the Ramsar Convention in advance of its Standing Committee meeting. NEMA issues a licence to Bedford Biofuels to cultivate 10,000 ha of jatropha, which it describes as a 'pilot'! Nature Kenya, the RSPB and BirdLife International write to the Kenyan authorities urging them to reconsider this decision. A Nairobi based firm of auctioneers advertises two plots of land in the Delta for sale, which comes as a shock to the people of the Chara and Ozi communities living in these areas. The Lower Tana Conservation Trust (LTCT), one of Nature Kenya's partners, leads the protest against this 'land grab' of local people's land by Bedford Biofuels and launches an online petition to collect signatures. The Kenya Forest Service issues a letter of notice saying:
"Our firm instructions and Warning to the public is that, all that piece of land appearing as deltaic ecosystem under the cover of Mangrove vegetation adjoining the sea fronts at the Tana River estuaries in OZI and CHARA are gazetted forest areas by ordinance."
2 July 2011
The Observer newspaper runs a feature on the land grab in Tana after which G4 Industries confirm they are withdrawing their project. Tim Stowe, RSPB Director of International Operations, said: 'We congratulate G4 Industries on their wise decision. They have listened to all the evidence about the impact of plantations in the Delta and have done the right thing. We hope other companies with similar proposals in the area will now start to follow suit and withdraw their plans.'
19 July 2011
At a court hearing on 19 July 2011 Kituo Cha Sheria (KCS) – a legal NGO in Nairobi that provides legal aid to poor and marginalized communities joins the court case to support the local communities.
24-26 July 2011
An inter-ministerial working group meets in Naivasha and develops a strategic framework for the sustainable development of Kenyan Deltas, including Tana. The meeting is facilitated by Nature Kenya.
26 July 2011
Bedford Biofuels begin work on their project clearing ground to develop their tree nursery.
Kenya's environment authority (NEMA) advises that jatropha is 'not viable' in coastal Kenya. It emerges that the two NEMA Directors suspended in July 2011 are accused of acting irregularly in granting the licence to Bedford Biofuels. NEMA's Chairman, Mr Francis Ole Kaparo, said that the licence had been awarded in spite of mounting scientific evidence which has exposed the claims made for jatropha as false. Nature Kenya congratulates NEMA on these decisions and submits a formal appeal against the Bedford licence.
9 September 2011
Local people in Tana who have spoken out against the Bedford Biofuels project receive threats.
Our Canadian Partner Nature Canada support the Tana case, featuring it on their blog and writing to the Canadian government raising concerns about the Bedford Biofuels project.
15-17 September 2011
Around 65 participants take part in a high-level meeting in Malindi to discuss the need for a strategic plan for the Delta. The Kenyan Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) hosts the meeting with NEMA and Nature Kenya jointly providing the Secretariat. Representatives from key Kenyan government ministries and agencies attend together with NGOs, media and international experts in the fields of land use and delta planning and environmental assessment. The meeting includes a workshop plus a field visit into the Delta to provide the opportunity to speak to the local people to understand the issues first hand. It closes by adopting a Communiqué which confirms the launch of the Tana Delta planning initiative. The output will be a long-term strategic land use plan representing a 'truly sustainable' future to the Delta, informed by Strategic Environmental Assessment. The process will take place over the next 18 months, with the support of DFID (UKAid).
Over 1000 Wardei pastoralists, previously evicted from Gamba village to make way for the unsuccessful food programme, are forced to move again as annual flooding temporarily submerges their new village Walkon. This emphasises why proper land use planning for the Delta is so urgently needed.
Canadian developer Bedford Biofuels is progressing activities on the ground for their 10,000 ha biofuel project. Valuable habitats have already been damaged. RSPB launch a further letter writing campaign urging the Kenyan authorities to rethink and cancel the permission for this project. The Kenyan authorities have acknowledged irregularities in the way this permission was granted and it jeopardises the strategic planning process by proceeding before this is settled.
16 March 2012
Hearing dates of 21-22 May 2012 are set for the Tana court case.
Village meetings are being held in the Delta to collect baseline information on land use and resources for the Tana land-use plan and Strategic Environmental Assessment.
13 May 2012
The biofuels-driven land grab that threatens the natural environment, food crop lands and the way of life of local communities is featured in the BBC 2 series Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve.
We become compliant with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATA) to achieve transparency and accountability throughout the project and provide the public with information on how the money from DFID (UKAid) is being spent.
Violent conflict over resources between farmers and pastoralists leaves around 200 people dead, 13,500 displaced and more than 30,000 people affected.
Nature Kenya launch an appeal for humanitarian support. A ton of maize flour and 280 litres of cooking oil bought and distributed in displaced people’s camps in the Delta. The rest of the money is given to the Kenya Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance to communities.
Tana River Delta is designated as a Ramsar site (Wetland of International Importance) and recognized as the second most important estuary and delta ecosystem in Eastern Africa.
Signatures collected in an online campaign against the Bedford license run by RSPB volunteer Dave Scott are handed to the Ministry of Environment and NEMA.
Land Use Plan Framework and SEA Scoping Reports published.
We hear reports that Bedford Biofuels have laid off most workers on their project site in Tana Delta.
Judgment in the High Court case is positive for the local communities. The judge rules that the short, medium and long range land use development plans for the Tana River Delta need to be developed with full participation of the communities and other stakeholders.
Kenyan elections. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is phased out and coordination of the Land Use Plan and SEA moves to the Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA). New governance structures are established at national and county levels.
Serah Munguti from Nature Kenya attends IIED London symposium on Land Grabs and makes a compelling presentation on Tana and our Strategic Plan/SEA work.
Massive flooding in Tana Delta.
The Bedford Biofuels 'pilot' project consent lapses and a visit to the area confirms their field is abandoned and being grazed by herds of hundreds of animals. Media coverage in Canada focuses on disgruntled investors who lost money when Bedford Biofuels went bankrupt.