International Environmental Legislations and Their Impact on Conservation in Kakamega County, Kenya; 1992-2015
Buyela, Marcellus Mukakha
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Environmental conservation is currently an issue in international relations as well as a global concern since the negative impact of activities in one country is felt in other countries. The global need for cooperation in environmental conservation has seen the enactment of many environmental agreements and treaties. Kenya being part of the global world has highlighted the need for effective environmental legislations to conserve its environment. This study investigated environmental conservation in Kakamega County with an aim of establishing the contribution of the Rio Summit of 1992 and the implementation of subsequent international environmental conventions to Kakamega County‟s environmental conservation. The study sought to examine: the impact of environmental conservation mechanisms in Kakamega County; the challenges that hamper effective implementation of environmental regulations in Kakamega County and how access to information influences public participation in environmental conservation in Kakamega County. The theoretical framework guiding the study was based on liberalism. To liberalists international relations is about state-state relations as well as transnational relations. Liberalists view issues of natural resources and environment as important as security issues and that states and non state actors are both important in world politics. That members of the public should have the right to participate in the making of environmental laws that define their substantive environmental rights through a fair and transparent political process. The study used descriptive survey design. It employed both primary and secondary methods of data collection. Oral interviews and county reports provide important sources of primary data. Data from secondary sources were gathered mainly from written works and internet materials. The study has established that the Rio Summit of 1992 and the subsequent international environmental conventions have shaped environmental conservation mechanisms in Kakamega County. That, for instance, environmental awareness programs currently cut across all sectors of society in Kakamega County. This has enabled most residents of Kakakamega County to actively participate in environmental conservation initiatives. The study has also established the challenges that hamper effective implementation of environmental regulations in Kakamega County. It has also demonstrated how access to information may guarantee public participation in decision-making which is essential for local level development in general and in the management of natural resources, in particular. Finally, the study concludes by giving a number of policy recommendations that can help to streamline environmental conservation.