May 18, 2022

Environment is vital to the growth of the nation-CJ Koome

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Chief Justice Martha Koome has said Environment and Lands Courts are critical in the social transformation agenda for economic and social stability.
Speaking at a Nairobi Hotel where she launched the Environment and Land Court Users Committees (E&L CUCs) the CJ called for collaboration between state and non-state actors.
On his part Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said although 90 per cent of the litigation in the Environment and Land Court is on land issues and 10% on environment issues, the environment plays an integral role in our daily life “Environment is life, it is the air we breathe, weather and climate, Ozone Layer that protects us from radiation, the ocean”.
CS Tobiko commended Justice Okong’o for the landmark decisions in the environmental sector ” you have done a lot, you have done well but there is much more to be done, in regards to emerging jurisprudence in international environmental law”.
The CS said there is, therefore, a need for capacity building to tackle the emerging jurisprudence for example the legal governance on oceans including how to deal with biodiversity in ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction, air quality, Ozone-depleting substances among others.
The CS said Kenya is one of the first countries in the world that has enshrined the right to a clean, safe and healthy environment in the Constitution as a fundamental right.
Even as the world is confronted by the three planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste CS Tobiko said there is a need to mainstream the environment in all sectors of the economy.
On Greening the Judiciary, CS Tobiko lauded the effort terming it as the first in the world. This will be accompanied by Green sentencing where convicts will be planting trees, cleaning rivers and collecting litter instead of the normal jail sentence.
Lands and Physical Planning Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney said that the Ministry had developed a land cadastre where all parcels of land will be registered online through coordinates. This will not only rid the Department of fraud but also minimize paperwork hence environmentally friendly.
Similarly, Environment and Land Court Presiding Judge Justice Samson Okong’o said the court has 51 judges in 37 court stations and have made a landmark ruling in the country. “We upheld Ban of single-use plastic and illegal encroachment of Forests and water towers”.
Justice Okong’o said Kenya will establish the first Green Court in the continent adding that “We should not pay lip service to climate change, we are serious about the environment”.
Royal Danish Ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke said Denmark has worked closely with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Waste Management Bill, Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations and climate change. He said Denmark is keen to partner with Kenya in the Greening of the Judiciary.
The launch was also attended by Chairperson National Lands Commission, Mr Gerishom Otachi, Law Society of Kenya President-elect Eric Theuri, KEPSA Chairperson Flora Mutahi, Paul Ndemo Deputy Chief Registrar of the Judiciary among others.

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