North Rift Dialogue on Land & Security

Enhancing land and water governance for resilient communities in the dry lands of the North Rift


The Governments of Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties, supported by six other counties Nandi, Samburu, Trans-Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot, and in partnership with Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace, the National Land Commission of Kenya, Initiatives of Change and Caring for Environment for Development will hold:

An International Dialogue on Land and Security in Kabarnet, Baringo County

12th-15th April 2016

Land is an important and highly contested resource within Baringo County and its neighbours. The rehabilitation of degraded lands offers an immense opportunity for improving food security, water security and employment in the North Rift region of Kenya. At the same time, building trust between communities and within various land users is equally crucial in ensuring long-term sustainability and peace within the region.

These issues will feature at the International Dialogue on Land and Security, to be held at the Rift Valley Hills Resort, Kabarnet, Baringo County. Approximately 100 local and international experts and participants will attend this pioneering Dialogue, themed presenting the latest debates on land, food, water, climate and human security.

The North Rift bloc of Kenya is both culturally and ecologically highly diverse.  Turkana, which borders South Sudan and Ethiopia, is the largest county in Kenya, with the lowest population density (7 people per square kilometre) and the lowest education levels in the country.  It receives 300-400 mm of rain per year. The majority of the Turkana people are mobile pastoralists. In contrast, Uasin Gishu County, with an annual rainfall of 900-1200 mm per year, produces an average of 4.5 million bags of maize and 1 million bags of wheat per year. Uasin Gishu has a population density of 267 people per square kilometre.

North Rift has been the epicentre of ethnic tensions during national elections, with many hundreds of fatalities in the post-election violence of 2007/8. The counties of Baringo, Samburu and Turkana are marred by cattle rustling, exacerbated by land degradation. In July 2015 clan fighting erupted in Elgeyo Marakwet, with hundreds of homes torched.

Lake Bogoria

Baringo County has some of the highest numbers of livestock of any county in Kenya.  It has also been know for problems of cattle-rustling and insecurity; problems which are being effectively addressed by the County Government leading to increased levels of security and prospects for economic investment.

The land management, environmental governance and community cohesion policies of County Governments need to be consolidated, ideally before the national elections in 2017.  At the same time, the rights of communities under threat from climate change, land degradation, land privatization, violent conflict, increasing population pressure and internal issues which undermine human security, such as female genital mutilation, need to be addressed.

Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace and Initiatives of Change Kenya have been active in North Rift since 2012.  The impact of the ILLP approach in Baringo County – linking trust-building with land restoration – was commended by UNCCD as an example of good practice.

This Dialogue is designed to support and complement Kenya’s National Land Reclamation Policy (2013) which aims to “reduce development conflicts and competition over resources” (p10) that have arisen due to “lack of confidence building and conflict resolution in the sub-sector” (p26).  Similarly, it is hoped that the Dialogue will contribute to the National Policy on Peace-Building and Conflict Management (2011), which recognises that the “unsustainable utilisation of environment … leads to depletion. This has precipitated conflicts over access, control and ownership, frequently degenerating into violent conflicts within and among communities. Over time, climate change has increasingly led to changes that created a nexus between climate change and conflict” (p15: para 44).

By inviting ILLP to undertake this initiative, the county governors of North Rift are drawing on ILLP’s international network on land restoration and peace-building.  Examples of relevant expertise include the interfaith peacebuilding in Nigeria and Chad undertaken by Nigerian mediators Imam Dr Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor Dr James Wuye, with support from the United States Institute of Peace and UNDP respectively.

The ILLP approach is also informed by the environmental governance and peace-building programme undertaken by UNEP in Darfur. The UNEP report entitled “Relationships and Resources: Environmental governance for peacebuilding and resilient livelihoods in Sudan” was launched internationally at the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security in 2014, and stresses the importance of working on environmental governance as a conflict mitigation strategy.

The proposed Dialogue will have significant implications, not only for the future of North Rift, but for Kenya and the sub-region.

The International Dialogue on Land and Security is organised by:

 Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 3.18.22 pm Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace

The Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace (ILLP) programme has been set up as a programme of IofC International to promote peace-building through land restoration. ILLP aims to deepen understanding of links between land degradation and human security and to build the trust needed for effective collaboration on the ground and in ‘land-peace partnerships’.

 Iofc Initiatives of Change International

Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own. We inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves.

The International Dialogue on Land and Security is supported by:

 Baringo Baringo County

Baringo County is located in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya, it borders the following Counties: Turkana to the North and North East, Samburu and Laikipia to the East, Nakuru to the South, Kericho and Uasin Gishu to the South West, Elgeyo Marakwet to the West, and West Pokot to the North West. At 11,015 km2, Baringo County is truly the land of a thousand views located in the ululating hills of the expanded Rift Valley with vast terrains of valleys and escarpments.

 Elgeyo Marakwet Elgeyo Marakwet County

Elgeyo Marakwet County covers a total area of 3029.9 km2. It borders West Pokot County to the North, Baringo County to the East, Trans Nzoia County to the Northwest and Uasin Gishu County to the West.

 nlc-logo-transparent1-300x294 National Land Commission of Kenya

The National Land Commission of Kenya is an independent Constitutional Commission established by the Constitution of Kenya under Article 67 and the National Land Commission Act of 2012. The overall purpose of setting up the National Land Commission (NLC) is to streamline operations in the entire land sector and to implement reforms that have been sought for a long time.

Centre for Environmental Development

CED is a Kenyan registered NGO which was formed with one broad aim of eradicating poverty. CED  works with different registered women and youth groups with the aim of empowering them in:

  • Microfinance and entrepreneurship
  • Food production, Post harvest management and value addition
  • Water harvesting, particularly sand dams
  • Capacity building through training
  • Appropriate technology
  • Environmental conservation