CHAPTER 4: GOVERNING THE AMBOSELI LANDSCAPE THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS: LESSONS FROM THE AMBOSELI ECOSYSTEM TRUST
As detailed in chapter two, Amboseli has faced challenges relating to society-environment interactions dating back to the 1940’s when Amboseli National Reserve was created. The challenges include changing land tenure, conflicting land use, Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC), unplanned development, and shrinking and/or disconnected habitats among others. Over time, multiple actors have been involved in varied interventions to mitigate these challenges. The actors are drawn from across sectors making the interventions multi-actor, multi-interest and multi-scale in nature, thus denoting a complexity. Moreover, many of the interventions seem to have taken varied forms of partnership arrangements (Van der Duim, Meyer, Saarinen, ; Zellmer, 2011). A distinct arrangement that is the focus of this chapter is a landscape-wide partnership: the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET) founded in 2009. AET is an umbrella organization that ‘…brings together all group ranches, Kenya wildlife service, conservation NGOs and the County government of Kajiado on conservation and development issues of Amboseli ecosystem (AE) to develop land use practices that improve the livelihoods and wellbeing through the coexistence of people and wildlife’ (AET, 2014a).
The aim of this chapter is two-fold. First, it seeks to understand the governance roles of the AET as explained by ways in which its partners conceptualize and practice the Amboseli landscape. Second, it explores the extent to which AET (through fulfilled governance roles) addresses the main conservation and development challenges in the Amboseli landscape. The chapter begins by introducing the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust in terms of its history and partners. It then discusses the governance roles of AET, and examines its (AET) contribution in addressing conservation and development challenges, and ends with a discussion.
4.2 THE AMBOSELI ECOSYSTEM TRUST
The history of AET can be traced back to a workshop held in the Amboseli Serena Lodge in 2004. The workshop was convened by the Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA) and supported by the Amboseli Conservation Program (ACP) (Inv-1). ATGRCA brings together indigenous communities who are landowners drawn from the six group ranches (Mbirikani, Kuku, Kimana, Ologulului, Rombo and Eselengei – see Figure 2.1) that are part of the Amboseli landscape (Inv-2b). The ACP is a research organization affiliated to the African Conservation Center (ACC), a conservation Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that begun operations in the Amboseli landscape since 1967 (ACC, 2015). The workshop was attended by about seventy (70) stakeholders, among them being Maasai elders , chiefs , councillors , Group Ranch (GR) officials, and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers (Inv-1a; Inv-22). In the workshop, the director of ACP, Dr David Western, who is also a renowned conservation researcher, presented a paper titled ‘Amboseli at Cross-Road’. The paper highlighted conservation and development milestones, and challenges facing Amboseli in the last 3 decades. The major challenges included: land tenure change, uncoordinated development of tourism, conflicting land use, wildlife habitat loss and fragmentation, unplanned development, human-wildlife conflicts and wildlife poaching (Inv-1a). Accordingly, the workshop resolved to find lasting solutions for these challenges that were adversely affecting biodiversity conservation and community livelihoods (Obser-2).
Moreover, the workshop resolved to have an integrated management plan developed to provide guidelines on land use and other development activities in the Amboseli landscape (Inv-1, Inv-2a, Obser-2, and Inv-8). As a result, a planning taskforce was constituted to spearhead the process of developing an integrated management plan for the entire landscape. The taskforce had representatives from government (Kenya Wildlife Service, Kajiado County Council), NGOs – African Conservation Center (ACC), Amboseli Conservation Program (ACP), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE), research institutions-School for Field Studies (SFS), and conservation tourism-based private investors. The local community -Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA) representative was also the chairperson of the taskforce. The ‘Amboseli at cross-road’ workshop marked the beginning of a consultative process that culminated in the formulation of an integrated management plan – the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan (AEMP) 2008-2018, that was launched in 2009 (Inv-22a, Inv-56).
Towards the end of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan development (EMP) process, (before the launch in 2009), a dilemma arose as to who would be its custodian and/or implementer (Inv-33). Consequently, the planning taskforce resolved to form the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET) to implement the plan (Inv-33; Inv-56). A clause recommending the formation of an implementing body-the AET was added to the AEMP. Moreover, members of the planning taskforce reconstituted to form the Board of Trustee (BoT) of the AET (Inv-56). Of importance to note, is that it was Dr David Western-the director of the Amboseli Conservation Program (a member of the taskforce) who proposed the formation of Amboseli Ecosystem Trust and provided a draft Trust Deed that was edited by the planning taskforce (Inv-33). The Trust Deed for the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust was later registered under the Ministry of Lands in 2009 (AET, 2009). The mandate of AET is to implement the AEMP (AET, 2009).
4.2.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE AMBOSELI ECOSYSTEM TRUST
An analysis of the AET’s Trust Deeds show that there are twenty objectives (Box 4-1) that encompass both wildlife conservation and livelihoods related aspects (AET, 2009). These objectives clearly highlight the multi-functional nature of Amboseli illustrated by their use of terms such as ‘conservation’, ‘benefits to community’, ‘livelihoods’. In addition, the terms such as ‘partnership’, ‘arrangements’, ‘liaison’, and ‘representation’ are also emphasized in its (AET’s) objectives – iii, viii, xi-xv, xvii, signify a multi-actor character of Amboseli landscape. ?
Box 4-1: Specific objectives of Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET, 2009)
i) Acceptance of gifts and donations
ii) Undertaking activities that further conservation of wildlife
iii) Partnership with organizations furthering wildlife conservation
iv) Furthering and promoting the Amboseli landscape* to secure ecological integrity
v) Furthering and promoting the benefits of community conservation initiatives
vi) Sustainable conservation and livelihoods
vii) Mitigation of Human Wildlife conflict
viii) Compliance with relevant government policy and legislation
ix) Monitoring the impacts and subdivision of land in the landscape*
x) Monitoring the leasing of land in the landscape
xi) Entering into beneficial arrangements
xii) Monitoring the terms of leases entered by group ranch representatives
xiii) Entering into beneficial liaisons
xiv) Partnerships with group ranches to establish sanctuaries and conservancies
xv) Assisting group ranches foster community-based conservation
xvi) Promoting best land uses in the landscape
xvii) Representation in LCB ‘s water Boards, LATF and CDF committees
xviii) Entering into conservation agreements and easements
xix) Applying for tax exemptions
xx) Establishing wildlife corridors
* The term used in the actual Trust Deed is ‘ecosystem’ replaced with ‘landscape’ for this study purposes.
AET also seeks to support government policies that are relevant for conservation and development of Amboseli landscape (GEF, 2014; Inv-56). Together, the multi-actor and multifunctional aspects and the broad-based nature of the objectives point to a landscape approach. Notably, the AET Trust Deed uses the term landscape to refer to the Amboseli National Park and the six adjacent group ranches combined (AET, 2009).
4.2.3 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND PARTNERS OF AET
As noted earlier, the mandate of AET is to coordinate the implementation of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan (AEMP, 2009, AET, 2009). The operations of AET are run by a Board of Trustees (BoT) that consist of sixteen founding members, plus additional members incorporated from time to time on a ‘as need arises’ basis (AET, 2009; 2012). 8 of the 16 BoT members are drawn from the local community represented by the Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA) while the other 8 comprise of actors from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutions, and private investors in the landscape (Section 4.2.3). The BoT of AET is headed by a chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer distributed among its membership. During the research period, the chairman position was held by an ATGRCA member, the secretary position by the Kenya Wildlife Service (the senior office in Amboseli National Park), while the treasurer position was held by an NGO representative from the African Conservation Centre (ACC) (Inv-1a; Inv-3; Inv-22). The reasoning behind this secretariat arrangement is that “…with the community member holding the chairmanship position, they community feel that they are in control … NGOs take the treasurer position … since they provide the funds and are therefore keen on accountability and transparency of funds” (Inv-3; Inv-22b). Furthermore, during the research period the day to day activities of AET was run by a secretariat constituted of three staff members ie a manager, secretary and office assistant (Inv-1c). However, the organizational structure of AET might change as the organization grows and more so when the five-year Strategic Plan: 2014 – 2019, is implemented (Inv-8b).
Moreover, additional members are invited to the BoT from time to time depending on specific issues on the agenda. For example, when issues on water management are on the agenda of a BoT meeting, relevant stakeholders such as Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) and Water Resource Management Association (WRMA) representatives are invited. In addition, relevant government security departments such as the Kenya Police Service and Intelligence units are invited into the board when matters of security are on BoT’s agenda. During the study period, the board had a representative from the Kajiado County government. The Olive Branch Mission (OBM)-an NGO that leased the former Kimana Wildlife sanctuary in 2014 (see 126.96.36.199), made a formal application to join AET BoT in the same year and were still awaiting a verdict in early 2016. The BoT is further sectioned into sub-committees, such as a core planning subcommittee consisting of ACC, AWF, ATGRCA, KWS, IFAW, BLF and others as need arises.
AET partners comprise of communities (Maasai people), government, conservation NGOs, research institutions, and private investors in the landscape (Table 4.1).
188.8.131.52 Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association
The Amboseli-Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA) view of the Amboseli appears to emphasis livelihoods improvement opportunities as core in their perception of the landscape. This is done through pastoralism, crop farming and wildlife conservation and tourism. The ATGRCA comprises of community members drawn from Kimana, Mbirikani, Selengei, Kuku A, Kuku B, Rombo, Ologulului/Ololorashi group ranches and a privately owned Ologulului Ranch Trust.
Table 4.1: A summary of Amboseli Ecosystem Trust partners
Communities • Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association (ATGRCA) -Kimana, Mbirikani, Kuku A, Kuku B, Rombo, Eselengei, Ologulului group ranches
• Amboseli/Tsavo Game Scouts Association
Government • Kenya Wildlife Service
• Kajiado County Government
Non-profit conservation organizations • African Wildlife Foundation
• Big Life Foundation
• African Conservation Center
• Amboseli Trust for Elephant
• International Fund for Animal Welfare
Research institutes • School for Field Studies
• Amboseli conservation program
Prospective • Olive Branch Mission
Others o Water Resource Users Association (WRUA)
o Water Resource Management Association (WRMA)
o National Environmental Management Authority
o Sopa lodge
o Amboseli Serena lodge
The overall objective of ATGRCA is to provide a platform through which communities can coordinate and improve community benefit accrual from wildlife (ATGRCA, 1995; Inv-2; Inv-8). Prior to its formal registration under the Companies Act (CAP. 486) in the laws of Kenya in 1995, ATGRCA operated as the Amboseli Wildlife Committee (ATGRCA, 1995). The formation of ATGRCA was supported by the Amboseli Research Program (ACC, 2015).
Specific objectives of ATGRCA include:
i) Managing and conserving wildlife resources on the lands to ensure that members benefit fully and directly from wildlife conservation (ATGRCA, 1995).
ii) Minimizing conflicts between wildlife conservation and development; promoting, encouraging and fostering the development of environmentally sensitive tourism (ATGRCA, 1995).
iii) Establishing a compensation fund for human injuries and/or death, livestock and crop losses emanating from wildlife, drawing up, coordinating and integrating development plans impinging the future of the landscape (ATGRCA, 1995).
iv) Working closely with stakeholders in the landscape to secure the value of Amboseli National park; and promoting sustainable development (ATGRCA, 1995).
Notably, the objective ATGRCA are broad-based ranging from managing wildlife resources, human wildlife conflicts, tourism, to integrated planning, and sustainable development. The broad objectives are seen to be in tandem with the ATGRCA’s overall objective.
184.108.40.206 Amboseli/Tsavo Game Scouts Association (ATGSA)
The primary aim of ATGSA is to promote livelihood from biodiversity conservation. ATGSA is an umbrella organization comprising of community wildlife scout from Amboseli landscape, constituted in 2003, under the Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Association for purpose of enhancing wildlife security and management in the group ranches (Inv-9b). The objectives of ATGSA are to “…..provide a forum for Community Rangers to exchange information, ideas and experiences; …promote the welfare of Community Rangers socially and economically; ….train qualified persons to become professional Community rangers and to further advance their knowledge and skills; ….push the agenda for wildlife conservation in the Amboseli-Tsavo area; and conserve the environment and wildlife outside Protected Areas in the Amboseli-Tsavo area” (ATGSA, 2012:9). ATGSA also aims at ensuring the welfare of community wildlife scouts (Inv-30; Inv-32).
The founding members of ATGSA include group ranch members of Mbirikani, Kuku A, Kuku B, Kimana Ranch, Eselenkei, Rombo and Ologulului group ranches through ATGRCA, the African Conservation Centre (ACC) and tourism private investors such as Richard Bonham Safaris Limited – today’s Big Life Foundation , and Kampi ya Kanzi (ATGSA, 2012). The overall day to day operational details of ATGSA are coordinated and managed by Big Life Foundation for Mbirikani, Kimana, Ologulului, and Rombo group ranches. The game scouts in Rombo and Kuku group ranches are managed by the private investors-based conservation organizations in the group ranches.
The Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan describes community game scouts as natural resource managers based at the village level that are involved in day-to-day management of wildlife in the group ranches (AEMP, 2008:xii). Specifically, game scouts oversee the wellbeing of wildlife by ensuring their security outside protected areas. Although ATGSA was originally under ATGRCA, the new AET strategic plan positions ATGSA under Amboseli Ecosystem Trust as its security arm (AET, 2014). ATGSA has also received support from other AET partners such as African Wildlife Foundation who sponsored construction of ATGSA offices (Inv-9) and capacity building and skill development (Inv-24). The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) purchased the 60-acre (24Ha) parcel of land on which ATGSA offices are located. Amboseli Trust for Elephants donated a motor vehicle, three motorcycles and thirty-six bicycles in 2004/05 to facilitate security patrols, with funding from the Discovery Channel (Inv-9).
ATGSA works closely with other AET partners such as Big Life Foundation, KWS, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, International Fund for Animal Welfare, African Wildlife Foundation, and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in matters of wildlife security and Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWC). For instance, AWF funded community ranger’s in-house training in August 2014 Inv-24. In addition, ATGSA also works closely with the Big Life Foundation (BLF) which coordinates wildlife security outside protected areas, as elaborated in chapter 5. ATGSA also assists in water conflict management whereby, wildlife scouts monitor water flow down-stream and inform group ranch officials upstream in order to ensure water flow and avert possible water resource conflict among community members (Inv-13).
220.127.116.11 Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
AWF conceptualizes the Amboseli landscape as being part of its Kilimanjaro heartland program that covers what is referred to as the Amboseli ecosystem (herein Amboseli landscape) in Kenya, and extending into the Kilimanjaro National park in Tanzania and its surrounding (Nthiga, Mwongela, & Zellmer, 2011). A heartland program is “a landscape-level approach to conservation that includes both conservation and nature-based livelihood improvement goals” (Henson, Williams, Dupain, Gichohi, & Muruthi, 2009, p. 508). The heartland approach is holistic, therefore encompassing conservation and livelihood interventions such as wildlife habitat extension and connectivity, conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife species, range rehabilitation, climate change, tourism enterprises, livestock improvement, women empowerment, water management (Inv-4, 5a, 5c, Van Wijk, et al., 2014). Accordingly, AWF collaborates with many partners such as communities, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA), NGOs and private investors in the landscape (AWF-AR, 2015).
AWF is an international conservation NGO registered in Washington DC, United States of America (USA) in 1961, with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya (Van Wijk, Van der Duim, Lamers & Sumba, 2014). AWF has operated in the lanscape since 1980s. For instance, AWF was the implementing partner of the Conservation of Resources through Enterprise (CORE) program and Conservation of Biodiversity Resource Areas (COBRA) projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Amboseli in the 1990s (Van der Duim, Lamers, & Van Wijk 2015). Moreover, the African Wildlife Foundation is among the founders of AET and was instrumental in the development of AEMP in terms of offering expertise, information, and financial resources (AEMP, 2008:4). Further, AWF has continued to support implementation of AEMP by providing funding for the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for AEMP in 2013-2014 (Inv-4; Inv-5) and has been an active player in the plan’s gazettement process.
AWF has been practicing the landscape in varied ways which include: (i) Wildlife conservation corridor related leases such as Kitenden corridor and conservation area in Ologulului group ranch (32,350 acres); and Namelok, Kilitome, Osupuko conservancies in Kimana group ranch. The Kimana leases total to 7964.21 ha (79.642134Km2) of land secured for conservation. (GEF, 2014; AWF, 2015). (ii) Land and habitat protection and rehabilitation projects. For example, 202.343 Hectares degraded land has been rehabilitated in Mbirikani group ranch in collaboration with the Osiram Women cultural group (FGD-1). (iii)AWF has also initiated and supports quarterly cross-boundary wildlife security meetings (forums) for partners and stakeholders involved in wildlife security (ATGSA, AWF, BLF, KWS, IFAW, MWCT, ACC, Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA)), as well as other stakeholders in Tanzania since 2012. The aim of this security forum is to enhance data collection and information sharing skills and improving working relations and coordination among wildlife security stakeholders across Kenya and Tanzania (Inv-5; Inv-6). Funds for the forum were provided by the Royal Netherlands Embassy (Inv-6). (iv) AWF in conjunction with KWS is also involved in Problem Animal Control project that is aimed at Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation and works closely with Bornfree Foundation on the Lion proof Boma project (PAC, 2014).
18.104.22.168 African Conservation Center
ACC aims at integrating knowledge, environment and livelihood. Furthermore, ACC’s vision is to conserve the diversity of life for the wellbeing of people and the environment. The African Conservation Center (ACC) is a conservation NGO registered in Kenya with headquarters in Nairobi. African Conservation Centre’s mission is to conserve biodiversity in East Africa and beyond through the collaborative application of scientific and indigenous knowledge, improved livelihoods and good governance (ACC, 2015). “ACC’s main objectives are to establish a centre of excellence dedicated to forging partnerships to identify and develop the scientific, economic, social and management skills for conservation and to develop a regional institution with global vision and outreach” (ACC, 2015). The ACC works with different stakeholders in different parts of Kenya and “… has been supporting the initiation of grass root governance institutions such as ATGRCA, South Rift Land Owners Association (SOLARO), AET, among others. In fact, it was ACC’s chairman Dr David Western that suggested, spearheaded and conceived AET’s dream in reality during AEMP’s development process (Inv-55). Reaffirming Westerns’ role in AET formation, another respondent says that “…he sees far, he’s not thinking about today, he is looking at 20 years from now, that if we want this place to survive, how to go about it. So he had a thought, he had a dream and he shared that dream, therefore all of us are only seeing this place can be managed in that context” (Inv-33).
ACC provided critical ecological information through the Amboseli Conservation Program (ACP) an affiliation of ACC, and financial support (AEMP, 2008:4). The African Conservation Centre also financed the development of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust’s Strategic Plan 2014-2019 (AET-SP 2014). In addition, between 2012 and 2016, ACC bore operations of AET’s secretariat costs such as office and staff salaries (Inv-56). ACC also sponsored the Osiram cultural women group in Mbirikani group ranch for an exchange tour for Laikipia (Inv-22; FDG-1), which demonstrates its capacity building role through skills development.
Associated with ACC is the Amboseli Conservation Program (ACP) that has operated in the Amboseli landscape since 1967. Dr David Western -a renowned researcher and proponent of community-based conservation – is the chairman of ACC and Director of ACP. ACP (2015) explains that ACP created ACC to further training, research and conservation efforts in Kenya and Africa at large. Further, ACC head office in Nairobi houses ACP and offers administrative and technical support to ACP. The research also noted that during AET board meetings, Dr Western affiliation was recorded as ACP in some instances, and ACC in others, which denotes a complex link (AET-BoT Min1-3). As such, the views of ACC, ACP, and Dr David Western intersect. In the Amboseli landscape, ACC works with all stakeholders who ascribe to the AEMP. In many instances, ACC acts as an ambassador for AET, a fact that may explained by the fact that the idea of conceiving the AET came from Dr David Western (Section 4.2.1).
22.214.171.124 The Kenya Wildlife Service
Results from this study reveal that the primary aim of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is to manage and conserve wildlife through protected areas, that also raise income for biodiversity conservation and protect residents from wildlife damage (Akama, 1998). The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (Cap 376) Laws of Kenya empowers KWS to formulate policies regarding the conservation, management and utilization of all flora and fauna (KWS, 2008). The Act also mandates KWS to advice stakeholders (landowners) on best methods of wildlife conservation and management (KWS, 2008). KWS is funded from a number of sources among them being national park gate collections, fundraising events and support from regional, national, and international partners.
KWS is a semi-autonomous government parastatal organization mandated to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya (KWS, 2012) and Kenya’s protected areas. Among KWS policy statements are: to establish and register wildlife conservancies; promote joint ventures in the conservation and management of wildlife conservancies and sanctuaries; and support conservation education, public awareness and capacity building (KWS, 2010). KWS is an active partner and board of Trustee member of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust who were in the forefront in supporting the development and implementation of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan. KWS’ interest in AEMP may partly be explained by the fact that it has ‘…long acknowledged that Amboseli National Park cannot support its current wildlife population levels without the wildlife dispersal areas offered by the community land that called for an integrated and adaptive landscape management approach to sustain wildlife and habitat diversity’ (AEMP, 2008:v). In actual sense, KWS (and its predecessor organizations) has supported Community-Based Conservation (CBC) in Amboseli landscape since the inception of Amboseli National Park in 1974 (See Western & Wright, 1994) with programs such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which funded Conservation of Biodiverse Resource Areas (COBRA) and Conservation of Resource through Enterprises (CORE) projects in the 1990s that resulted in the pioneer community-based conservation initiative in Kenya being the Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary in Kimana Group ranch (See Nthiga et al 2011; Nthiga 2014, van Wijk et al 2014; Lamers et al 2013). KWS also has a revenue-sharing initiative that shares a portion of ANP gate collection with the 6 group ranches adjacent to the park for supporting education at secondary and tertiary level. During the study period, approximately Kshs 11million (USD 110,000) per annum was shared until 2013 when it was increased to Kshs 20 million (USD 200,000) per annum (Inv-33; Inv-8).
126.96.36.199 International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Evidence from this study show that IFAW conceptualises the Amboseli landscape mainly as a space for wildlife conservation. This is denoted by its IFAW vision which focuses on rescuing and protecting animals around the world (IFAW, 2015a). Emphasizing this, an interviewee indicates that, “IFAW is about animal welfare which… is, use animals and make sure you have taken care of their interests…if it is killing, you kill in a humane way” (Inv-6). In Kenya specifically, IFAW focuses on conserving elephant populations, and seeks to expand their habitat in Amboseli landscape. Before moving into the Amboseli landscape in 2011, IFAW had projects in Meru and Tsavo National Parks in Kenya. In 2012, IFAW became a partner of the AET. Accordingly, activities of IFAW focus on preserving critical elephant habitat, securing migration corridors to protected areas, and promoting sustainable development for Maasai communities and innovative poaching prevention (IFAW, 2015b). IFAW also seeks to addresses policy, legislation and society concerns (IFAW, 2015a).
To achieve its conceptualization, IFAW has entered into a 30,000 acres Kitenden Corridor and Conservation Area land lease with Ologulului group ranch members and funded the development of its management plan unveiled on the 2nd September, 2014 (Inv-6; OBS-3). The plan covers the entire Kitenden Corridor and Conservation Area that includes an adjacent area leased by the African Wildlife Foundation (Obser-2). IFAW has also supported training of over 20 community game scouts at the Kenya Wildlife Service training school in Manyani (IFAW, 2014). Moreover, IFAW prides itself as being “…. sensitive to the needs of communities and work for solutions that benefit both animals and people” (IFAW, 2014). Accordingly, IFAW promotes alternative livelihoods interventions such as an education bursary program worth Kshs 20 Million ($200,000) that was rolled out in 2014 to sponsor sixty six (66) students at secondary and tertiary levels from Ologulului group ranch for four years (IFAW, 2014).
IFAW works in close cooperation with Kenya Wildlife Service by enhancing their capacity to conserving wildlife through donating vehicles for patrols, “… where you have protected areas, you will always need to enhance park management” (Inv-6). Other working partners of IFAW include Amboseli Trust for Elephants, School for Field Studies, ATGSA (IFAW, 2015) on research and wildlife security matters. At the international arena, IFAW partners with organizations such as: the Clinton Global Initiative to save Africa’s elephants, Conservation Measures Partnership , the Game Rangers International (GRI), and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) in their projects (IFAW, 2014). The IFAW is an international conservation NGO registered in England and Wales, with headquarters in Massachusetts, United States of America (IFAW, 2014). IFAW works in over 40 countries globally such as Australia, China, United Kingdom, Kenya, Zambia, Netherlands, France, South Africa, Indonesia, USA, United Arab Emirates, among others (IFAW, 2014).
188.8.131.52 Big Life Foundation
The central idea of Big Life Foundation (BLF) on Amboseli landscape is wildlife conservation, however, BLF also seems to recognize the host communities as key and important partners in achieving conservation goal. Notably, BLF practicing of the Amboseli landscape seem geared towards enhancing wildlife conservation, in a manner that enhancing community livelihoods as a way of drumming up support for conservation. The activities of BLF in the Amboseli landscape include: wildlife conservation and security, a predator compensation fund, an education program, and a health care program (Inv-29; Inv-30; Anyango, 2012; Anyango et al 2015) .
Registered as an NGO in Seatle, USA in 2010 (See BLF-F990, 2015), the aim is to protect and sustain East Africa’s wild lands and wildlife using innovative strategies and forms of collaboration (BLF, 2014). In Africa-Amboseli, Big Life Foundation came about in 2012, when the Maasai Preservation Trust (MPT) merged into Big Life Foundation USA (See Section 5.3). MPT was founded in 1992 as a partnership between a private investor’s philanthropic entity, Ol Donyo Waus Trust and Mbirikani group ranch members (Refer to Section 5.3.2). The study notes that some of these programs have been re-vamped, extended and new ones initiated after the merger. These programs are discussed in more details in Section 5.4.
184.108.40.206 Amboseli Trust for Elephants
The Amboseli Trust for Elephants views Amboseli as a space for conservation and welfare of elephants, and therefore practices the landscape to achieve this view through research, community outreach, and advocacy (ATE, 2015). Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) is an NGO registered in Massachusetts, USA that begun conducting research on elephants in Amboseli in 1972 (ATE, 2015). ATE also runs the Amboseli Elephant Research Project that specializes in elephant behaviour research (Inv-57). Associated with ATE is the African Elephant Conservation Trust, an endowment fund established in the USA to initiate, support and ensure the continuation of key elephant research projects across the African continent modelled on the ATE philosophy and research methodology (ATE, 2015). A source indicates that ‘the long-term survival of elephants can only be assured by creating a niche for free-living elephants that is compatible with the needs and aspirations of the surrounding human communities’ (OBM, 2015). Furthermore, the Amboseli Elephant Trust operates a wildlife consolation fund in Ologulului group ranch since 1997, which compensates the communities for elephant inflicted losses (Inv-57). A source confirmed that “…ATE pays an owner of a cow, sheep or goat a set amount when an elephant kills livestock on community lands” (ATE, 2015). Illustrating this further is a respondent who adds that, “…we had an agreement with the Maasai if a lion kills a cow sheep or a donkey we pay them, since 1997 we have been paying them Kshs 15,000 USD 150 for a cow, it doesn’t matter the size or how old… just killed…1997 to 2014 it was Kshs 15,000 … 2015 it increased to Kshs 20,000 USD 200 per a cow, goat or a sheep it just remain Kshs 5000 … if a cow is killed inside the park we don’t pay” (Inv-64).
During the study period, ATE had employed “fifteen (15) Maasai elephant scouts who patrol the landscape on foot monitoring and reporting elephant movements, injuries, and conflicts, as well as threats from poaching and the bush meat trade” (Inv-57; AET, 2015). ATE has also been providing education bursaries to girls from Ologulului group ranch since 2004. Evidently, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants works closely with other partners of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust such as IFAW, KWS, BLF, and ATGSA on issues of elephants’ security. For instance, ATE employs community wildlife scouts referred to as Maasai Elephant scouts, who are members of the Amboseli/Tsavo Game Scouts Association (ATGSA) and their operations are coordinated by boths ATGSA and Big Life Foundation (Inv-24; Inv-9a; Inv-9b). In addition, ATE conducts collaborative research on elephants in conjunction with KWS, IFAW, and AWF. During the AEMP development process, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants provided extensive information on human-wildlife interactions in the landscape and, also provided funds (AEMP, 2008).
220.127.116.11 School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) is an affiliate of Boston University in the USA. SFS had two branches, one in Amboseli, Kenya referred to as Kilimanjaro bush Camp and another in Arusha Tanzania. Over the years, SFS has used Amboseli as a teaching laboratory for community-based conservation, livelihood, cultural and ecological monitoring related studies. SFS-Kenya closed in mid-2014 citing terrorism-related travel advisories to Kenya by the USA government. However, some of its former employees are still active in Amboseli, especially in research. For instance, one of its faculty members has been appointed as an honorary warden in the Southern conservation area, which the Amboseli National Park ANP is part of.
18.104.22.168 Prospective – Olive Branch vision
The vision of OBM is to enhance community livelihoods through collaborative initiatives such as wildlife conservation, “…Olive Branch vision and commitment in synergy with the local Maasai people and their critical partnership/ownership will ultimately define the future of a very significant and far reaching, much larger Ecosystem” (OBM, 2015). During the study period, the Olive Branch Mission (OBM), a Christian-based international NGO, had applied to be incorporated into the AET Board of Trustee. Asked what motivated OBM’s work in Amboseli landscape, an interviewee responded that, “…land resource is slowly diminishing which is a threat to the Maasai’s way of life and livelihoods… the notion of a threatened Amboseli Ecosystem …coupled little benefits for communities from wildlife based tourism, land subdivisions and transfers of land to non-Maasai’s … we are really here to make impact in the community to make sure we conserve the environment through people…” Inv-25b.
OBM was initiated in Chicago about 147 years ago, and has operated for 14 years in Burundi, Jamaica, and Kenya. In Kenya, Olive Branch has operated from Kimana group ranch, which is also its African head office since 2012. In Amboseli, OBM runs conservation, security and livelihood programs. Under its conservation security program, OBM runs “Sidai Oleng” Wildlife Sanctuary and Land Conservancy that include “Sidai Oleng” Wildlife Sanctuary in Kuku group ranch and what was the former Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary in Kimana group ranch that together cover over 7000 acres (OBM, 2015). In addition, OBM revived the former Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary 1st March 2014 when a 25-year lease agreement was signed between community members of Kimana group ranch ranch and OBM. (OBM, 2015). “Sidai Oleng” Wildlife Sanctuary and Land Conservancy ensures that this land is preserved for conservation land use Inv-25. In addition, Olive Branch runs a research centre with a fifty (50) bed capacity on the Kuku group ranch side of Sidai Oleng” Wildlife Sanctuary and Land Conservancy.
“Sidai Oleng” also aspires to provide real-time solutions and testing, implementing and demonstrating that eco-compatible coexistence can occur in protecting, preserving, even restoring natural environmental contexts for both human and wildlife benefit “(OBM, 2015). In a bid to secure part of Kimana wetland, Olive Branch is currently working with Kajiado County government to re-survey Kimana wildlife Sanctuary’s boundaries especially bordering the Mbirikani group ranch Inv-25; Inv-41). Moreover, OBM is in the process of reviving “Sidai Oleng” Wildlife Sanctuary and Land Conservancy (the former Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary). For example, during the 2014-2015 drought period, OBM managed to keep off livestock from the sanctuary and the wildlife population is slowly increasing. In addition, OBM had employed forty-three (43) game scouts in August 2014 (Inv, 25c). Besides, OBM seems to be is alive to the fact that conservation and livelihoods are mutually dependent as a respondent affirms, “We Olive Branch feel that AET should look out for ways of slowing down land transfer from the indigenous Maasai communities to others migrants therefore ensuring land conservation” … “… to be successful in leaving footprints within these areas you have to understand a lot of local dynamics…who actually are the power brokers, who are the gatekeepers, who are the people who really run things, what do they need, what are their interests, how can we work with them” (Inv-25).
The above sentiments denote the need to understand the context social, cultural and political within which conservation and development is happening. OBM’s seem to believe in collaborative approach is further illustrated by the following sentiment, “…we see the future of Amboseli in stakeholder networking” (Inv-25b). Moreover, Olive Branch’s webpage runs quotes from other actors in Amboseli and partners of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, a signifier of their commitment to collaborative management (OBM, 2015). OBM submitted a membership application for incorporation to AET’s Board of Trustees at the end 2014 that is yet to be considered. In spite of the fact that OBM is not an official partner of AET, it ascribes to the integrated Amboseli Ecosystem Management plan which it is adhering to as it embarks on refurbishing tourism facilities in “Sidai Oleng” Wildlife Sanctuary and Land Conservancy-former Kimana Sanctuary (Inv-25b; Inv-41). OBM also runs several activities under their livelihood program such as a livestock improvement program in Mbirikani.
These are actors who are not AET partners but work collaboratively with specific AET partners (Inv-5b) on certain interventions. Examples include the Lion Guardians, and the Born Free Foundation. The Lion Guardians are involved in monitoring and informing local communities and others where and when predators such as lions are spotted. The Born Free Foundation collaborates with AWF and BLF, MWCT, ATE in building predator proof bomas . One respondent asserts this further “Born Free is trying to do set up of Bomas … have done several around Olgolului, Kimana and Mbirikani … and we also share data with them” Inv-32. Through their collaborative activities with AET partners, the other actors indirectly or unknowingly ascribe to AET’s aim and objectives by being enjoined to their networks and/or recognizing AEMP.
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) is the conservation arm of Campi ya Kanzi, a partnership between a private investor and Kuku group ranch community members. Notably, MWCT is not an official member of AET. Moreover, MWCT works closely with BLF, ATGSA, KWS, and AWF on a cross-boundary activities and operations. Additionally, MWCT was among the sponsors of ‘The Maasai Olympics held on the 13th Dec. 2014 in conjunction with BLF, ATGSA, and Olive Branch Mission, that was partly sponsors by Chester Zoo among others (Inv-32; Inv-5b; AET, 2011). Other actors include the Serena Hotel, Sopa lodge, and the Amboseli Sentrim hotel. The lodge and hotel support AET activities by hosting AET meetings but are not official members of AET. Water Resource Users Association (WRUA), Water Resource Management Association (WRMA), Kenya Irrigation Board, and other government organisation attend AET’s board meeting on invitation and especially when issues touching on their mandate are being discussed.
Evidently, there is no independent private investor (PI) member in AET board. This is because all investors (involved in tourism) operating in group ranches around ANP have initiated conservation Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that fundraise and operate conservation programs. Moreover, most of the NGOs have then taken membership into AET. For instance, Big Life Foundation is related to Ol Donyo Wuas lodge investor-Richard Bonham in Mbirikani group ranch, Maasailand Wilderness Conservation Trust is the conservation arm of Kampi ya Kanzi lodge in Kuku group ranch. KWT is the conservation arm of Cheli & Peacock Safaris, with tourism establishments in Kitirua Conservancy Ologulului group ranch (Amboseli), Masai Mara and Samburu, founded in October 2007.
4.3 GOVERNANCE ROLES OF THE AET
Evidence from this study show that AET is fulfilling several interrelated governance roles in Amboseli landscape namely; agenda setting, policy development, and information sharing and metagovernance roles (Table 4.2). Evidence from this study depicts metagovernance as the most fundamental role being fulfilled by the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust in the landscape. Metagovernance role materializes by way of policy development role, through which an integrated management plan – the Amboseli Ecosystem Management plan (AEMP) was collaboratively formulated between 2004 and 2008 by AET partners the in the Amboseli landscape. Evidently, the AEMP is seen as offering the AET the basis to perform metagovernance and other governance roles. Next, I discuss the governance roles fulfilled by AET.
Table 4.2: AET’s governance roles in the Amboseli landscape
Governance role Examples of from AET
Policy development ++
– Collaborative development of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan 2008-2018
– Bringing orderliness in Amboseli landscape on development
Agenda setting – Campaign against proposed Amboseli New Town
– Lobbying for re-alignment of Amboseli-Namanga road
Policy implementation Implementation of AEMP programs
Information sharing – Development and dissemination of useful information for agenda setting, policy development, policy implementation and metagovernance
++: Most prominent roles of AET
4.3.1 Policy development governance role
Policy development is a prominent role being fulfilled by the Amboseli ecosystem Trust in the Amboseli landscape. Between 2004 and 2009, the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust partners developed an integrated management plan for the landscape – the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan. The AEMP development process involved back and forth series of consultations and negotiations that stalled at some point owing to conflicting views and understanding on land use between community members and other members of the planning task force in the landscape. A section of the community members viewed the zonation plan as a plot to convert their land into government managed protected area (Inv-1c). On instances when the AEMP development process stalled, the planning taskforce engaged actors in dialogue especially with the local community members (through ATGRCA), with the aim of clarifying and averting fear that the plan was meant to convert their land into government protected area, but to ensure that wildlife conservation and livelihood related activities co-existed and/or complement each other (Inv-1c). Another example of conflicting views on the landscape among partners of AET was after the AEMP development process was completed in 2008, when the Kenya Wildlife Service attempted to launch the AEMP without the community stakeholders consenting to some of its aspects, a move that was shot down by the community members, arguing that the plan was skewed towards conservation, and have little to do with enhancing their livelihood (Inv-8a; Obser-2). As a result, the draft management plan was revised through consultative forums between the Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association and planning taskforce, culminating in the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan (AEMP) being launched in 2009. It is important to note that prior to the workshop in 2004, Kenya Wildlife Service had been developing management plans exclusively for the protected area-Amboseli National park, therefore disregarding of the surrounding Group Ranches areas that serve as extended wildlife habitat, dispersal, and migratory areas (AEMP, 2009).
The Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan (AEMP) was developed using the Protected Area Planning Framework (PAPF), a tool adopted by the KWS in 2006 as a Protected Area management planning standard (KWS, 2017). The aim of the plan is to coordinate the governance of the Amboseli landscape for the achievement of development and conservation objectives simultaneously. The management plan identifies the course Amboseli stakeholders intend to follow for a period of 10 years (2008-2018) in a bid to ensure that wildlife continues to thrive, and community livelihoods are enhanced in Amboseli (AET, 2009:v). I observe that the cover page of the AEMP (the plan) bears signatures of the chairman and secretary of the Amboseli/Tsavo Group Ranch Conservation Association representing the local community; and the Director, and Chairman to the board of the KWS. Moreover, logs of other AET partners appear on the second page of the plan.
The AEMP comprises of 5 sections namely; plan foundations, Amboseli Ecosystem zonation scheme, management programme, and Ecosystem Operations Programme (AEMP, 2009). The plan’s management programmes highlights goals that the AEMP seeks to achieve and makes up the bulk of the plan. These goals are:
i) Ecological Management Programme, aimed at ensuring ‘…viability of the ecosystem as a key wildlife conservation area’ (AEMP, 2009: x). Secure critical wildlife dispersal areas, corridors and habitats, and protect wetlands & river systems. Conserve large mammals such as elephants, predators, black rhino (AEMP-SEA, 2013).
ii) Tourism Development and Management Programme, whose aim is ensuring that Amboseli maintains a top tourism destination in Kenya therefore enhancing tourism returns to the local people (AEMP, 2009; AET, 2014b).
iii) The Community Partnership and Education Programme, aims to achieve sustainable conservation of community land by increasing community participation in decision making, (diversity community benefits from natural resources) and ‘creating economic incentives for conserving wildlife; and reducing the cost of living with wildlife by implementing prudent measures to manage the escalating human-wildlife conflict’ (AEMP, 2009).
iv) The Security Programme, that aims at addressing wildlife poaching for bush meat and trophy related incidents (AEMP, 2009).
v) The Ecosystem Operations Programme aims to address operational challenges in Amboseli through strengthening institutional collaborations (AEMP, 2009).
AEMP has a detailed land use zonation plan, and a visitor use zonation plan (Figure 4.1), aimed at separating conflicting land uses (AEMP-SEA, 2013). The land use zonation plan is meant for “…separation of incompatible land uses such as agriculture and conservation, maintaining landscape connectivity, providing diverse types of tourism experience, reducing tourism pressure on Amboseli National Park” (AEMP, 2009:15). The following sentiments are illustrative of this fact; “…because different programs of AEMP tell people what to do, where and when to do, duplication of tasks is greatly reduced because stakeholders undertake to do what they are good at voluntarily” (Inv-1). The land use zones of the AEMP are wildlife tourism, livestock production, and arable agriculture zones. The wildlife tourism zone is meant for wildlife conservation and tourism, livestock production zone for livestock production through pastoralism, and arable agriculture zone is intended for agricultural production through rain-fed and irrigation (AEMP, 2009). The visitor use zonation plan identifies ‘…areas that are environmentally and ecologically suitable for different types of tourism development based on the naturalness of the areas and the spatial distribution patterns of existing land uses and infrastructure’ (AEMP, 2009:16).
Figure 4.1: Land use zones (AEMP, 2009)
Additionally, this study reveals that some AET partners have funded the development of other policies in the Amboseli landscape. For example, in 2012, the African Wildlife Fund funded and spearheaded the development of a Draft Water and Wetland Management policy for the Kimana wetland in 2012, the Olgulului-Lolarrashi Community Conservation & Development plan for Ologulului group ranch, as well as wildlife management plans for Namelok, Kilitome, and Osupuko conservancies in Kimana group ranch (Inv-4; Inv-5a; Inv-14). Another the IFAW also funded the development of the Kitenden Corridor and Conservation Area (KCCA) management plan in Ologulului group ranch that was launched in 2014 (Obser-3; Obser-4).
Results from this study reveal that AET is also fulfilling a metagovernance role, which comes out as another prominent and fundamental governance role being performed by AET in the Amboseli landscape. Fulfilment of metagovernance role is linked and dependent on policy development role of AET (see Section 4.2.1). Moreover, metagovernance is seen as supporting AET in performing the other governance roles. In this study, metagovernance is associated to efforts made by AET with the aim of enhancing coherence, synergy, and/or coordinated action among its partners and other actors, in the governance of Amboseli landscape. Through the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan, AET fulfils a metagovernance role in the Amboseli landscape by bringing orderliness in the manner in which AET partners and other actors view and practice the landscape. A respondent notes that; “…before, … everyone did their own things without consulting, but with the coming of AET, there have been consultations and stakeholders implement particular items of the AEMP. … IFAW and AWF are working on corridor connectivity, while Big Life Foundation is concentrating on coordinating security issues in conjunction with the Amboseli and Tsavo Community Game Scouts Association (ATGSA)…” (Inv-1a). This excerpt portrays AET as providing an arena for consultations, complementarity, and synergy among its partners based on the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan. Evidence of metagovernance in this study reveal synergy and coordination among AET partners illustrated by the presence of a seemingly harmonised division of tasks. For example, partners with interest in wildlife security on community and private land are encouraged to liaise and work with Big Life Foundation that works in close collaboration with Amboseli/Tsavo Game Scout Association (Inv-22b).
Further demonstrating the metagovernance role of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust is an instance where IFAW developed a management plan for the Kitenden Corridor and Conservation Area (KCCA) in 2014. In contrast with what conventional of NGOs that may at one point compete for funding, we see two AET partners (IFAW and AWF) working very closely in protecting wildlife corridor and/or habitat. The Kitenden Corridor and Conservation Area is a wildlife migratory corridor connecting Amboseli National Park in Kenya, and Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania (KCCA, 2014; Observ-3; Observ-4). KCCA covers an area of 26000 acres (10521.8Ha) is a product of fusing small individually owned pieces of land-leases in Ologulului group ranch (Inv-6; Obser-4; Inv-31). IFAW funded and oversaw the development of a common management plan for the whole KCCA – their own leased-land, as well as the part leased by IFAW, in close consultations with the other stakeholders in the Amboseli. An interviewee emphasizes that, “… although leased separately by different partners, we are now developing a management plan for Kitenden corridor and conservation area consultatively” (Inv-6).
The metagovernance role being fulfilled by AET through the AEMP is already being seen as contributing to orderliness in development in the Amboseli landscape, as illustrated in the road and City objections (See 22.214.171.124). Another demonstration of metagovernance is the fact that AEMP is providing guidelines on tourism development by stipulating the minimum size of land required to put up different tourism facilities. The AEMP stipulates that, ‘…a tourism camp requires 150 Hectares of land which is equivalent to seven (7) parcels of 60 acres land, while a lodge requires 300 Hectares amounting to about 12-13 parcel’ (AET, 2009). Furthermore, the AEMP Strategic Environmental Assessment specifies areas where new tourism facilities ought to be constructed, away from the high-density concentration areas (see Figure 1.2) of the landscape (AET, 2014).
The study portrays metagovernance role as enhancing synergy, complementarity, and division of labour among AET partners, which seems to enrich co-operative efforts. An example of synergy is demonstrated by the case of BLF coordinating wildlife security operations outside formal protected areas in and beyond the Amboseli landscape, and cross-boundary security operations between Kenya and Tanzania
4.3.3 Agenda setting
As seen in chapter 3, agenda setting involves ‘starting the debate on new issues in the governance system’ (Visseren-Hamakers, 2009, pp. 25,33). Evidence from this study reveals 2 examples where AET has fulfilled agenda setting. One, AET objecting to the construction of a proposed City – Amboseli New Town next to the Amboseli National park. Two, lobbying for the realignment of a proposed road-route linking Loitoktok to Namanga towns passing adjacent to the Amboseli National park.
4.3.1 Objecting the proposed city
In 2012, the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust objected to the development of a proposed city adjacent to the Amboseli National Park. The then Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development planned to develop a metropolitan city by the name Amboseli New Town to the North-west of the Amboseli National Park in Ologulului GR (refer to Figure 4.1) in 2012. The city was to occupy approximately 2000 Hectares of land and attracted over 100,000 immigrants (AET, 2012b). As such, the city was seen by AET partners as a threat to the landscape since it was perceived that it would have interfered with wildlife migratory routes and wildlife habitats (AET, 2013b). It was also seen as being a threat to wildlife based tourism and pastoralism, owing to the fact that it was bound to increase land subdivision, therefore putting more pressure on natural resources such as water (Inv – 4; AET, 2012b, 2013c).
Accordingly, AET mobilized its partners and other actors in the Amboseli landscape to lobby the government through discussions, negotiations, and a formal submission of a written objection against the proposed metropolitan concept and specifically against the Amboseli New city. On 8th August 2012, AET submitted two letters objecting the proposed city, One letter was sent to the then Director Metropolitan Planning and Environment, under the then Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development, while another was sent to the Director Physical Planning at the Ministry of Lands (AET, 2012a, 2012b).
The letters were accompanied with support documents profiling AET partners and information justifying the objection (AET, 2012b). Furthermore, the letters cited the AEMP, and argued that the city would undermine conservation integrity and local community livelihoods, and degrade natural resources (AET, 2012b). Agenda setting by AET contributed to the proposed city being shelved altogether (Inv-1, Inv-4, Inv-15, & Inv-22). An interviewee emphasised that, “…here was a city that was supposed to be built in Amboseli, AET stood up challenged it city and it was stopped” (Inv-33).
126.96.36.199 Re-alignment of proposed Namanga – Loitoktok road route
Another instance of agenda setting is in 2013, when AET objected to an initial road-route linking the Namanga and Loitokitok towns through the Amboseli National Park, at its Meshenani gate. In its place, AET proposed an alternative route (Figure 4.3). The Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA), a government parastatal mandated to oversee road construction in Kenya undertook an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) prior to upgrading the Namanga and Loitoktok road to an-all-weather (bitumen) road standard. As required by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) (1999), KENHA through the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) called for public views on the Namanga –Loitoktok road ESIA.
In response, AET called on its partners to study and respond to the Namanga –Loitoktok road ESIA, and consultations followed culminating with a stakeholders’ meeting on the 18th June, 2013, AET convened a forum to deliberate on the Namanga –Loitoktok road ESIA (AET (2013a). Reaffirming this is an interviewee’s response, ‘…everybody had to come together to come up with a ‘not to stop the road’, but to try and come up with a solution where it the road could have the least impact’ (Inv-30). The road ESIA argued that the road upgrade would have positive benefits such as improving accessibility of the Amboseli landscape (KENHA, 2013). Some AET partners perceived costs of the road-in its initial route as outweighing its benefits, while others portrayed an urgent need for the road irrespective all other things remaining constant (AET, 2013b). The need for the road is evidenced by a sentiment during consultations, ‘…we need it road like yesterday’ (AET, 2013b). AET partners felt that the proposed road route would interfere with fragile wildlife habitats and traditional migration routes to the north of Amboseli National Park (Inv-1; Inv-4; Inv-5; Inv-30; (AET, 2013a). In addition, AET indicated that there had been inadequate stakeholders’ consultations during the road ESIA process, since AET had neither been consulted nor the Amboseli ecosystem management Plan referred to. A respondent confirms this, “… those guys government just come in and plan a road without knowing any details of how this ecosystem works, and they just put the road on the cheapest route (Inv-29). AET partners also felt that the road would have negatively impacted community livelihoods in the landscape since it was to pass through the Ilaingarunyoni hills, that are traditionally a dry period grazing reservoirs for the Maasai pastoral community (AET, 2013b).
Accordingly, AET partners deliberated on alternative routes and settled on one (see Figure 4.3). In addition, a technical team was constituted to prepare a technical report to justify the initial road route objection and support the preferred alternative route (AET (2013a). The team had representatives drawn from AET secretariat, KWS, AWF, IFAW, ACC, BLF, and ATGRCA (AET, 2013a). The mandate of the technical team was ‘…to bring out in a condensed manner the great data accumulated over the years about livestock and wildlife movements and migratory routes, together with the settlements patterns of the communities so as to effectively make realignments for the road to come and serve best the diverse interest of the Amboseli ecosystem namely the community and their livelihood, wildlife movements with tourism as well as strategic interest for the locals and for Kenya and the world at large’ (AET, 2013a). The general consensus was that the road route ought to avoid dry season grazing areas such as the Ilaingarunyoni hills, wildlife migratory corridors and fragile wildlife habitats outside designated protected areas as per the AEMP land zonation plan (AET (2013a). The road was also to avoid important wildlife habitats and migratory corridors such as Eremito and Risa ridges used by wildlife during the dry season (AET (2013a)..
Finally, AET submitted an objection on the initially proposed Namanga-Meshenani-Loitokitok road route by formerly responding to the call for stakeholders view on the ESIA. In so doing, AET wrote a letter to the NEMA objecting to the initial road route and suggesting an alternative one. Attached to the letter was a detailed report justifying the objection and the proposed road route, resulting in a road route re-alignment in line with AET’s proposed alternate route shown in Figure 4.3 (SEA, 2013; Inv-1; Inv-5; Inv-6; Inv-8; Inv-22; Inv-30; Inv-33). Reaffirming this is the following excerpt from an interviewee, “…a highway was to pass through the park… AET stood up and said no highway and that sufficed” (Inv-40).
Figure 4.3: Proposed – KENHA versus alternative (AET) Namanga-Loitoktok road route (AET, 2013)
4.3.4 Policy implementation governance role
This study notes that AET is also fulfilling policy implementation governance roles. As noted earlier, the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan (AEMP) was launched in 2009 (See Section 4.2.1). Efforts to implement the AEMP after its launch failed owing to the fact that it (plan) was not recognized under the laws of Kenya (Inv-55). Accordingly, AET begun the AEMP gazetting process in 2012, through a series of deliberative meetings culminating in the Amboseli landscape stakeholders’ workshop held on the 28th February 2013 (Obser-2). The workshop approved an immediate moratorium on development take effect pending the gazetting of the Amboseli Ecosystem management plan (Box 4.1). The moratorium meant that all new and proposed developments in the landscape would need approval by AET before they are licenced by relevant government agencies (See Box 4.1)
Thereafter, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the AEMP was conducted, verified, and finally approved through a stakeholders’ verification workshop held in December, 2014, according to EMCA requirements (AET, 2014). The AEMP was eventually gazetted on 30th October, 2015, under the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy 2013, whose implementing agency is the Kenya Wildlife Service.
However, there are issues that surrounded the implementation of the AEMP that call for attention. For instance, the AET relies on the Kenyan government in fulfilment of policy implementation role. For example, the gazetting of the AEMP took over 2 years (2013-2015), a fact that is partly attributed to AET reliance on different organs of government for the gazetting process, which brought more stakeholders and interests on board therefore complicating the process further. Moreover, the AEMP was gazetted under the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy, 2013 whose implementing agency is the Kenya Wildlife Service, implying that the government is taking a lead role in the implementation of the AEMP. Moreover, although the AEMP has been gazetted, the regulations to guide its implementation under the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy, 2013 have not been finalized. Besides, the implementation of the AEMP may to conflict with other existing national policies such as those relating to agriculture. For example the Kenya Irrigation Board under the Ministry of Agriculture and the African Development bank are supporting and promoting increased crop production in some areas that contravene the AEMP land use zonation plan.
Over all, the study notes that if the gazettement of the AEMP in 2015 is anything to go by, AET policy implementation role has the potential to influence the overall governance of Amboseli landscape. For example, any new actors and projects coming into the landscape require prior approval by AET for compliance with the AEMP, before they can be consented by relevant government organs (Inv-10a). A respondent reaffirms the potential of the AEMP further, ‘…anyone or ideas coming to the Amboseli landscape have increasingly been channelled through AET where they are discussed with AEMP in mind’ (Inv-8b). Accordingly, if the gazettement of the AEMP in 2015 is anything to go by, then AET policy implementation role has the potential to influence and change the overall governance of Amboseli landscape.
In addition, AET is continuously involved in articulating that Amboseli landscape and stakeholders’ interests are taken into account during formulation of national policies, plans and regulations. For example, AET took part in championing for inclusion, devolution, and increase of compensation for wildlife inflicted losses (livestock, human and crops), as well as incorporation of County wildlife compensation committees into the Kenya Conservation and Wildlife policy of 2013, through its (AET) membership in the Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Association (KWCA) initiated forum (Inv-1; Inv-36). KWCA is a national-wide land-led membership organization representing community and private wildlife conservancies, and that works with regional organizations for improved environmental and livelihood benefits in Kenya (KWCA, 2017). During the study period, 2 members of the AET secretariat were members of KWCA committee, where they represent and champion the interests of the Amboseli landscape community in matters of wildlife conservancies.
4.3.5 Information sharing
Information sharing is another governance role being fulfilled by the AET in the Amboseli landscape. Information is vital and integrated in the fulfilment of all other governance roles performed by the AET. For example, the development of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management plan (AEMP) was an information intensive process which involved gathering and packaging information from diverse stakeholders in the Amboseli landscape. Policy development could therefore be seen as a process continuous information sharing involving discussions and negotiations about divergent conceptualizations and practice of the landscape. Information sharing was in this case a precondition, for the fulfilment of policy development, and other governance roles. For the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, the development of AEMP involved series of stakeholder workshops and consultative forums, held between 2004 and 2009, as well as during the policy implementation process (4.2.1). In addition, information sharing is a continuous process that takes place in AET Board of Trustees meetings, stakeholder workshops, and capacity building forums such as demonstrated in the cases of ACC sponsoring exchange tours for the Osiram women group to Laikipia, and AWF supporting cross-boundary wildlife security meeting, wildlife security operations by BLF and Community game scouts (ATGSA), and all other day to day activities and interactions.
Evidence from the study reveals that information sharing governance role is therefore embedded into agenda setting, policy development, policy implementation and metagovernance. In the two examples of agenda setting where AET, objected the proposed road and city, information was gathered and packaged to support the proposed road and city objections (see 188.8.131.52) Likewise, policy development and policy implementation governance roles also require a lot of information sharing. The development of the AEMP for example took about five years of data gathering, compilation through stakeholder negotiations and deliberations. A respondent affirms that, “….there was a back and forth negotiations and awareness creation among local community members to avert fears that the AEMP was about gazetting community lands” (Inv-1c).
4.4 EXPLAINING GOVERNANCE ROLES THROUGH PARTNERS’ CONCEPTUALIZATION AND PRACTICING OF THE LANDSCAPE
Evidence form this study show that AET partners conceptualize the Amboseli landscape holistically for two broad objectives namely, biodiversity conservation and human development therefore depicting the landscape as serving multiple functions. However, partners were seen to have specific overriding view attached and/or informed by their specific interests, histories, networks affiliations, and expectations illustrated by the actors’ practice of the Amboseli landscape. Evidently, AWF’s conceptualization and practicing of Amboseli landscape is holistic informed by its heartland approach that supports both conservation and livelihood initiatives (Section 184.108.40.206). IFAW conceptualization is mainly conservation-oriented and is anchored on its animal welfare vision, and its (IFAW) practicing of the landscape mainly include enhancing wildlife security and securing wildlife habitats (Section 220.127.116.11). Moreover, actor’s conceptualization and practice appear to be in a repetitive cycle whereby, earlier conceptualizations and practices influence how the landscape is conceptualized and practiced in future. Illustrating this cycle is the dynamism seen in African wildlife Foundation’s practicing of the landscape over the years, that have changed from supporting communities to start and run wildlife conservation areas in the 1980s, to market-based partnerships in 1990s, to conservation tourism enterprises, and landscape governance in 2000 and beyond (Nthiga, 2014; Nthiga et al., 2011; Van Wijk, Van der Duim, Lamers, & Sumba, 2014). The continuous cycle denotes that actors adjust their conceptualizing and practices according to prior experiences, a fact that is consistent with Sayer et al. (2013) notion of adaptive learning being a key principle in landscape governance.
Furthermore, AET partners’ conceptualization of the landscapes seem to diverge and converge on specific issues triggering what appears to be grouping and regrouping of partners and actors. For instance, the study reveals that some partners (community-ATGRCA, most NGOs (BLF, AWF, ACC, IFAW, ATE) and KWS are unified in practices relating to wildlife security and human wildlife conflicts in the landscape. The convergence and grouping of actors’ conceptualizing and practicing of the landscape play out through policy implementation role, such as:
• AWF and IFAW seem to share a unified view of enhancing wildlife habitat connectivity and extension. The two partners of AET have leased land along Kitenden wildlife migratory corridor linking the Amboseli national Park in Kenya to Kilimanjaro National park in Tanzania that have previously been subdivided and allocated to private owners making-up the Kitenden Corridor Conservation area (KCCA). A common management plan for KCCA was then developed by IFAW.
• Several AET partners (AWF, IFAW, ACC, and ATE) have been working closely to enhance wildlife security outside formal protected areas, to ward-off HWC and poaching challenges. The partners have been delegating the coordination all their community wildlife scouts (who are members of Amboseli/Tsavo Game Scout Association (ATGSA) to Big life Foundation. Other actors involved in wildlife security in Amboseli landscape besides BLF include Maasailand Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) in Kuku and Elerai Satao in Kimana. AWF in conjunction with KWS is also involved in Problem Animal Control project that is aimed at Human Wildlife Conflict mitigation and works closely with Bornfree Foundation on the Lion proof Boma project (PAC, 2014).
• Research has been identified as another notable point convergence, where several NGOs-ATE, ACC, IFAW, BLF, AWF; government (KWS); and School for Field studies (SFS) conduct research together.
The 2004 workshop may be viewed as signifying the beginning of actors of conceptualizing and practicing Amboseli as a holistic landscape that ought to be practiced us such. Before this, the landscape had been viewed as a mosaic of different Group ranches land uses – pastoralism, tourism, crop farming, community conservancies, and the Amboseli National Park. The study notes that the development of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management plan (AEMP) took over 5 years. The policy development process also reveals a process riddled with differences in conceptualizations, as illustrated by the process dragging for long, and at times coming to a complete halt (Section 4.2.1). The dragging denotes that decision-making on the different components of the plan took longer than expected, since reaching a consensus among partners’ divergent ways they conceptualized the landscape, and their thoughts on how it ought to be practiced consumed a lot of time. The AEMP development process was marked with recurrent consultations in attempts to reach a negotiated consensus on conceptualizations and practicing of the Amboseli landscape among partners. Moreover, the AEMP development process portrays controversies resulting from divergent ways in which the actors conceptualize and practice the landscape, illustrated by the process stalling and restarting, a failed AEMP launch by the KWS in 2008, renegotiations, and the final launch in 2009.
The study finds that AET has been providing an arena for AET partners and other actors in the Amboseli landscape to negotiate on how the landscape ought to be conceptualized and practiced, therefore enhancing their synergy and coordination. The examples of agenda setting discussed in this study portrays AET partners’ conceptualizing the landscape as a holistic system or entity, which they go ahead to defended together against initiatives that threaten to divide it. Their defence of the landscape is actualized through collective practices such as objecting the proposed city, and road. Agenda setting reveals Amboseli Ecosystem Trust’s partners and other actor’s synergy as illustrated in the objection against the planned city and road, through one united (albeit temporary) voice. An interviewee affirms that ‘… if it’s just one voice standing up against the city, nobody listens, but when it’s something like AET, they listen because its represents many voice’ (Inv-30).
Evidence from this study illustrates two distinct yet intertwined categories of agenda setting namely internal external and external agenda setting governance role. On one hand, internal agenda setting is seen as the act of introducing and maintaining discussion and/or consultations among AET partners on issues in a manner that enhances temporary trade-off on conceptualizations and practicing of the landscape. On the other hand, external agenda setting is about AET partners introducing and sustaining discussion and/or consultations with other actors in and beyond Amboseli on a given issue with the aim of influencing their conceptualization of the landscape. An example of external agenda setting is the objection against the proposed city and road, which necessitated internal agenda setting among AET partners in their quest to portray a unified (albeit temporarily) conceptualization of the landscape despite there being multiple underlying and potentially conflicting ones (refer to Section 4.3.3). Agenda setting is also seen as providing negotiated trade-offs of actors’ conceptualizations that camouflaged existing partner differences. Such differences among AET partners’ conceptualizations and practicing of the landscape were illustrated during the discussions on the Loitoktok-Namanga road, whereby an AET partner was of the opinion that the road should be done away with altogether, while others argued that the road was urgently need. Stressing the urgency, a source indicated that, ‘… the is needed like yesterday’ (AET, 2013b). In this regard, the fact that a negotiated standpoint of an alternative road route was eventually arrived among partners demonstrates internal agenda setting. The fulfilment of agenda setting by AET demonstrates complexities associated with arriving at negotiated trade-offs regarding how the landscape should be conceptualized and practiced among AET partners and actors in the landscape and beyond. These examples on agenda setting illustrate that AET and its partners conceptualize the Amboseli landscape as a whole entity that needs to be protected as such. Furthermore, the objections against the city and road developments are examples of AET and its partners practicing the landscape by defending it against initiatives that threaten to divide the landscape. More important to note that in both instances, the AEMP was used as a point of reference in defending Amboseli landscape against potential government sponsored development initiative.
I therefore argue that AET has acted as a bridge for conceptualizing and practicing the landscape among its divergent partners. Through internal agenda setting and metagovernance roles of AET partners and actors in the landscape who would not have ordinarily worked together are able to do so with ease. The example of IFAW spearheading and funding the IFAW-AWF leased Kitenden Corridor and Conservation Area management plan implies that AET is enabling partners who ordinarily compete for funding (and therefore be in conflict) to work collaboratively with ease. Partners and stakeholders group and regroup in addressing specific issues and/or challenges in the landscape.
By fulfilling metagovernance role, AET is providing an avenue for AET partners and other actors to strategic influence one another’s conceptualization of the landscape for purposes of enhancing coordinated and synergized practicing of the landscape. Results of coordinated practicing of the landscape include:
i) Implementation of the wildlife security and conservation program initiated by the BLF that enjoys unrelenting support from actors in the entire (Refer to Section 5.4.1 for details on security and conservation program).
ii) Another example of coordinated practice is illustrated in the 2 cases on agenda setting where AET partners and other actors in the landscape alike put their differences to defend the landscape as a unified and coordinated voice. In both instances, the Amboseli Ecosystem Plan (AEMP) was used as a basis for censoring large government projects-the proposed city and road (Section 4.3.3)
Fulfilment of metagovernance has resulted in some form of division of task among AET partners in implementing AEMP programs. a) All AET partners support BLF in matters pertaining to wildlife security outside government-run protected areas in the landscape. b) The coordinated and strategic lease and development of the KCCA management plan. In fulfilling metagovernance, AET utilizes its partners’ unique configurations of actor-resources (such as financial, expertise) to address different issues and/or circumstances. For instance, NGOs and community seem to take a lead role in matters where AET is putting the government to task, while KWS takes a low profile to avoid conflict of interest. In instances where wildlife security such as poaching, injury, killing are concerned, government KWS takes a lead role and exercises its authoritative power during arrests and prosecution, while NGOs (BLF) step back (but offer support) to avoid strained relations with the community (Inv-7). For instance, in July-August 2012, a misunderstanding between the Amboseli community members and KWS arose resulting from a misunderstanding over a HWC incident that lead to the community-Maasai youth (Moran) going on a wildlife killing escapade Observ-1. To resolve the conflict, ATGRCA took a lead role in engaging KWS in the conflict resolution process while NGOs took a back row (Obser-1).
AET is also seen as an information sharing arena for partners to discuss, consult, on and negotiations leading to a consensus. Information sharing is embedded and integrated into all the governance roles fulfilled by AET. Illustrating synergized voice, is an interviewee ‘…but if it’s just one voice actor standing up, nobody listens, but when it’s something like AET then its representative many voice’ (Inv-30). The process of agenda setting involve constant interactions that build relationships of trust, complementary, that in-turn provide synergy among actors. Accordingly, agenda setting and metagovernance roles have triggered new ways of viewing and practicing the Amboseli landscape illustrated by their convergence in addressing specific challenges. For instance, the study reveals that although every AET partner and all other stakeholder has a unique conceptualization of the Amboseli landscape, some partners’ (community-ATGRCA, BLF, AWF, ACC, IFAW, ATE, and KWS) practice is unified on matters relating to wildlife security and human wildlife conflicts, whereby they collaborate.
4.5 CONTRIBUTION TO LIVELIHOOD AND CONSERVATION CHALLENGES IN THE LANDSCAPE
Through the governance roles being fulfilled, this study depictions the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust as implicitly contributing towards addressing conservation and development challenges facing Amboseli landscape. External agenda setting role of AET is seen as having contributed in addressing biodiversity conservation and development challenges in the Amboseli landscape. For example, the objection against the planned construction of Namanga-Meshenani-Loitokitok road and Amboseli New town by AET, eventually resulted in re-alignment of the road plan and indefinite halting of the Amboseli new city. The objections imply that the fragile habitat and migratory routes north of the Amboseli national park remains, and the dry period grazing reserve (in Erimito, Risa, and Ilaingarunyoni hills-Figure 4.3) were safeguarded and/or remained intact (AET, 2013b).
Through its agenda setting role, AET has discouraged further human settlements in fragile wildlife habitats which would have increased cases of human wildlife conflicts incidents associated with human settlement along such a road. This is further illustrated by the fact that potential risks from human settlement in the city and along road developments were averted. Agenda setting is also a step forward towards averting further habitat loss and HWCs that would have accompanied the new road and city development. On a negative note, agenda setting is depriving stakeholders in the landscape development opportunities by denying them road access. A source emphasizes that, ‘…communities want this road like yesterday’ (AET, 2013b).
Overall, through policy development, AET is contributing to addressing the conservation-development linkage policy void through the AEMP. The land use zonation plan inbuilt in the AEMP aim at separating incompatible land uses (Section 4.3.1). This has been achieved by categorizing the Amboseli landscape into wildlife tourism, livestock production, and arable agriculture zones. So far, new development projects in the Amboseli landscape require AET endorsement for compliance with the AEMP zonation plan before they can be received and/or approved by government agencies such as the National Construction Authority (NCA), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). Accordingly, this study claims that if fully implemented, the plan-AEMP may translate into: (i) improved wildlife habitat integrity and connectivity, which would reduce HWCs; (ii) better grazing spaces for community livestock therefore improving productivity, which may in turn lead to community livelihoods enhancement. As evidenced by the 2 cases of agenda setting, the AEMP zonation plan if implemented fully is bound to address unplanned and uncoordinated development challenge, that have direct influence on habitat fragmentation.
4.6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
This chapter focused on the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET) with two aims. First, it sought to understand the governance roles of the AET as explained by ways in which its partners conceptualize and practice the Amboseli landscape. Second, it explored the extent to which AET (through fulfilled governance roles) addresses the main conservation and development challenges in the Amboseli landscape. Evidence from this study reveals that AET is fulfilling several governance roles, with policy development and metagovernance being identified as the most prominent roles. The study indicates that governing landscapes though partnerships displays slow decision-making owing to the diverse and at times conflicting ways in which the landscape is conceptualized and practiced. Results from this study show that the AET has a dynamic structure, and that Amboseli is conceptualized as a multifunctional landscape that is dynamic and transnational in nature. The government was also identified as a key partner in the landscape governance. Moreover, through the governance roles being fulfilled, AET has indirectly been contributing to addressing conservation and development challenges in an indirect manner.
The Amboseli Ecosystem Trust is a product of its policy development governance role that gave rise to the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan (AEMP), a plan that integrates diverse development and conservation goals. The activities of the AET are run by a Board of Trustees (BoT) comprising of a 50% community representation by membership. The BoT is run by a chairman, secretary and treasurer from local community, government and NGO respectively. Evidently, the organization structure of the AET if fluid and flexible to ensure that new actors and/or interests are taken into considerations. Accordingly, non-BoT members are occasionally co-opted on as-need-arise basis, in-order to incorporate the ever-changing issues and interests of the dynamic landscape. Moreover, through AEMP, partners of the AET and other actors are guided to view the landscape as a holistic entity that ought to be viewed and practice in a specific manner. The holistic view is illustrated by the portrayed unified defence of the landscape against practices that threaten to divide it such as the city and road.
Evidence from this study confirm Kusters (2015) argument that landscapes are dynamic and changing, owing to influence from multiple drivers, it is depicted Amboseli landscape as having fluid boundaries as defined by its diverse actors, that influence how they (actors) conceptualize and practice the landscape. Amboseli landscape is viewed in multiple and over-wrapping spatial boundaries that reflect its multiple actor and interests. For some AET partners such as AWF and BLF, the landscape is conceptualized and practiced as a transboundary landscape covering the Amboseli-in Kenya, and the northern eastern areas of the neighbouring Mount Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania, which presents new ‘cross-jurisdictional’ governance challenges. By collaborating with partners in Kenya and Tanzania, AWF and BLF have provided useful linkages that enable KWS (Kenya) and TANAPA (Tanzania) to work with ease in the cross- jurisdictional landscape. This finding supports arguments that partnerships work within complexities of nested arrangements (McAllister & Taylor, 2015), and are better positioned to address contemporary environmental and social issue such as those presented in the governance of natural resources (Bitzer, Glasbergen & Leroy, 2012; Koontz & Newig, 2014(Carlsson & Sandström, 2008).
AET is fulfilling several closely related and intertwined governance roles in Amboseli landscape namely; metagovernance policy development, agenda setting, policy implementation, and information sharing roles. Results further highlight the existence of two prominent and symbiotically related governance roles namely; policy development and metagovernance. Some aspects of metagovernance emanate from the AEMP, a policy that was collaboratively developed by AET partners in the Amboseli landscape between 2004 and 2008 and launched in 2009. On one hand, metagovernance-highlighted by enhanced coordination among its partners, is seen as an ingredient in the fulfilment of policy development governance role. On the other hand, it (metagovernance) is a by-product of policy development role. Metagovernance also is also seen to be a prerequisite for the performance of other governance roles by AET. Through metagovernance role, AET is seen as providing an arena where its partners and other actors’ in Amboseli can strategically (temporarily) bridge and/or amalgamate their divergent conceptualization and practicing of the Amboseli landscape. In so doing, AET is depicted as enhancing synergetic and coordinated practicing of the landscape as illustrates in the development of the IFAW-AWF leased Kitenden Corridor and Conservation plan development by IFAW.
Through its fulfilment of policy development governance role, the AET is significantly influencing the governance of Amboseli landscape. AET is credited for the development of the AEMP, a policy that provides guidelines on how the Amboseli landscape should be conceptualized and practiced by partners of the AET and other actors in the landscape. Notably, the development process of AEMP dragged for almost 5 years, a pointer that negotiated trade-offs and/or bridged conceptualization and practicing of the landscape among AET partners took long to reach through intense back-and-forth discussions. This echoes (Sayer et al., 2013) sentiments that actor negotiation is a key ingredient in landscape governance.
AET is also fulfilling an agenda setting governance role in the landscape. This study identifies two distinct and interdependent categories of agenda setting namely, external and internal agenda setting. External agenda setting is seen as necessitating internal agenda setting, which in turn compels AET partners and other actors in the landscape to temporarily set aside their diverse (and at times conflicting) ways of conceptualizing and practicing of the landscape. In the two cases of agenda setting discussed in this study, some conservation-based NGOs seem to be taking a lead role (implicitly, while AET is pushed to the forefront therefore portraying a unified voice of actors in the landscape. This observation re-affirms the notion of NGOs roles being as agents of agenda setting (Ref??). The two cases of agenda setting discussed in this study portray AET as a forceful-voice that gets actors’ (government included) to abide by the AEMP. Additionally, the cases also demonstrate the government as abiding by AEMP. Fulfilment of external agenda setting by AET has therefore contributed to the proposed city being shelved altogether, and an alternate route for the road being accepted.
After the launch of AEMP in 2009, there have been numerous efforts by different partners to implement the AEMP with mixed results. The first conspicuous examples of policy implementation are the stamping of a development moratoria in 2013, which outlawed all new projects subject to prior endorsement by AET for compliance with the AEMP. By way of the Moratoria, AET is seen to have stamped itself as an authority (based on AEMP guidelines) that dictates the way stakeholders (including government) in the Amboseli should conceptualize and practice the landscape. Moreover, the fact that prior endorsement for compliance with the AEMP is required as a prerequisite for government-agencies’ approval may also denote that the government is sharing its authority with AET, therefore supporting implementation of the AEMP. The second example of policy implementation is the gazettement of the AEMP in 2015 that entrenched it into the laws of Kenya.
The study identifies the government as a key partner in the governance of Amboseli landscape. Government dominance is for example illustrated by AET’s reliance on government agencies to gazette the AEMP, and the fact that the AEMP was gazetted under the Kenya Wildlife and conservation policy of 2013 whose implementing agent is the Kenya Wildlife Service. This dominance implies that power to implement the AEMP has been entrusted on the government. Also noted in this study is the fact that AET has to rely on governmental institutions for enforcement of the AEMP. The notion of a powerful government in landscape governance seems to counter the general governance literature that posit partnerships solely as being instruments in the ‘government to governance’ shift. I therefore argue that governing landscape through partnerships is in actual sense about ‘governance with government’.
The study notes that AET is indirectly contributing to addressing conservation and development challenges through the governance roles it fulfils. AET is informing the governance of the Amboseli landscape in wildlife conservation, tourism, and livelihoods (Section 4.2.6). This is demonstrated through policy development, agenda setting, and metagovernance governance roles of AET (Section 4.2.5). For example, through policy development – AEMP zonation plan, has brought some order in tourism facilities and general infrastructural development in the landscape. Agenda setting role of AET has slowed down land use change which in turn may reduce disruption of habitat connectivity. Moreover, through metagovernance, partners of AET seem more united and coordinated in defending the landscape based on the AEMP.
Through its policy development role, AET has directly contributed in addressing the conservation-development linkage policy void through the AEMP. This study did not find any evidence that directly link AET to addressing livelihood challenges in the landscape. The study notes that real on-the-ground implementation of AEMP livelihood programs is are scattered and are yet to be consolidated and or coordinated across the landscape with barely 2 years to the expiry of its time span. If implemented, the policy (AEMP) may address other challenges conflicting land uses, and habitat fragmentation though the elaborate land-use zonation plan inbuilt in the AEMP, which in turn benefit community livelihoods.
The study reveals deep underlying controversies and/or issues pertaining to governing landscapes through partnerships that include: slow decision making, over-reliance on individual AET partners for on-the-ground implementation of the AEMP programs, and exclusion of some actors. Slow decision-making in governing through partnerships was evident in this study. This could be explained by several factors. One, the multiple actors involved in partnerships with diverse interests and ways of conceptualizing and ideas on how best to practice the landscape make building consensus a time-consuming process. Illustrating this is the dragging on of the AEMP development, and gazettement process. Two, entry and exit of actors which necessitates reorganization to accommodate new interests, and by extension new ideas of conceptualizing and practicing the landscape. For example, AWF that has been one of the key partner supporting AET right from its inception to its present status closed its Kilimanjaro heartland office in 2016 leaving a gap, which may not only destabilize the AET but also threaten the governance gains made by AET in the Amboseli landscape.
This study revealed a general over-reliance on individual AET partners for on-the-ground implementation of the AEMP programs, which raises questions of AET’s capacity in taking a grip on the plan’s implementation process. The over-reliance also poses a risk of some partners hijacking AET to further their interests. This points to Glasbergen, Biermann, and Mol (2007) assertion that partnerships may act as instruments of advancing actor specific goals. For instance, AET is seen as having over-depended on the African Conservation Center, which may raise questions on whose agenda AET is really pursuing, and a fact that could erode the trust being enjoyed among AET partners. The study noted a general feeling of mistrust among AET partners to the effect that AET is another arm of ACC. An interviewee’s response confirms this, ‘…ACC through AET is trying to control other players in the ecosystem ‘. This call for metagovernance in partnerships to ensure that powerful partners are moderated, which resonates with Kusters (2015) assertion for the need to ensure that more powerful actors do not override the interests of less powerful stakeholders.
Notably, fulfilment of policy implementation governance role by AET through the gazettement of the AEMP is an unprecedented and a key milestone not only in Kenya but also in the east African region. Despite this, there is evidence of low awareness about the AEMP among non-indigenous immigrant communities in the landscape. This could imply that the immigrant communities may not be partakers in the governance of their landscape. This raises questions of inclusivity of stakeholders in the landscape governance, and the need to reconsidered ways of including and/or involving immigrants (who are mainly farmers) in AET board, since their practice of the Amboseli landscape is key to the successful implementation of the AEMP.
Based on findings from this study, the following recommendations are made: (i) there is need for AET Board of Trustee to seek wide inclusivity in terms actors, existing policies, and emerging issues to be addressed when reviewing the AEMP. In so doing, AET should also consider a wider, more inclusive definition of who and what local community entails; (ii) the need to find ways of enhancing the capacity of the AET both financially and in terms of human resources; (iii) the governments of Kenya and Tanzania should look for ways of enhancing the governance of the Amboseli-Kilimanjaro cross-jurisdictional landscape.