People living in forest settlements to get title deeds, says CS Wakhungu

Tuesday March 22 2016

From left: KFS Chairman Peter Kimathi,

From left: KFS Chairman Peter Kimathi, Environment CS Judy Wakhungu and Baringo Governor Benjamin Chemboi during cerebrations of the International Day of Forests at Chemususu in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County on March 21, 2016. Prof Wakhungu said her ministry is in the process of degazetting forests which are now under settlement. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The Ministry of Environment is in the process of degazetting forests which are now under settlement.

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu Monday said the ministry was in the process of formulating a policy to de-gazette specific areas within forests occupied by people.

“The government will through the ministry of land give occupants title deeds, “she said.

The CS who officiated the International Day of Forests celebrations organised by the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS) at Chemususu in Baringo County, said schools situated in the forests will be issued with user licenses soon after the plans are completed.

She said the government was in the process of identifying communities that are considered to be settled in forests and those living in areas that qualify for degazettement will be issued with title deeds.


“We are working closely with the Ministry of Land and we shall be presenting a report to Parliament for the de-gazetting process to kick off,” she said.

She said this will also be applied on public facilities like schools that are located in forests.

The forest area covered by primary schools is five acres while that occupied by secondary schools is about 10 acres, according to the CS.

She said the function was running concurrently with the launch of a report seeking to improve efficiency in forest operations and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.

KFS Director Emillio Mugo said he would consider pushing for the reopening of closed roads that cut across forests as requested by Lembus council of elders.

This year’s theme was 'Forest and water’.

Prof Wakhungu called on members of the public to be in the fore front in the conservation of environment.