The European Union is funding the Kenya Forest Service's work to rehabilitate degraded forest areas in Mount Elgon and Cherangany in the western and North Rift regions of the country. These forests cover an important water catchment area, straddling the watershed between Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana. By increasing Kenya’s forest cover, the Forest Service's work enhances resilience to climate change as well as benefitting local people whose livelihoods depend heavily on sustainable uses of these forests.
The funding, which is provided to the Forest Service through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, is part of a wider EU programme which in total provides 31 million Euros (some 3.7 billion Kenyan shillings) of grants for improvements to Kenya's ecosystem services. Of this, the EU's funding for the Forest Service's work in Mount Elgon and Cherangany is planned to amount to some 4 million Euros (some 500 million shillings). Other state agencies involved in the programme include the Kenya Water Towers Agency, the National Climate Change Secretariat, the Kenya Wildlife Service as well as the county governments of Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kakamega, Kisumu, Nandi, Siaya, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga and West Pokot.
Following violent incidents between the Kenya Forest Service and the local Sengwer community, in January 2018 the EU suspended its funding of this programme: see our press release, correspondence with UN Special Rapporteurs (Special Rapporteurs' letter and Commissioner Mimica's reply), and update for details.