Friends of Lake Turkana is driven by the need for environmental justice for the people of Lake Turkana and beyond.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies”.
The Kenya constitution has enshrined environmental rights for all people. In Part 2, on “Rights and fundamental freedoms”, section 42 states: “Every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right a) to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through legislative and other measures, particularly those contemplated in Article 69, and b) to have obligations relating to the environment fulfilled under Article 70”.
As such, Article 69 says, “1) The State shall a) ensure sustainable exploitation, utilisation, management and conservation of the environmental and natural resources, and ensure the equitable sharing of the accruing benefits; b) work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least ten per cent of the land area of Kenya; c) protect and enhance intellectual property in, and indigenous knowledge of, biodiversity and the genetic resources of the communities; d) encourage public participation in the management, protection and conservation of the environment; e) protect genetic resources and biological diversity; f) establish systems of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit and monitoring of the environment; g) eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment; and h) utilise the environment and natural resources for the benefit of the people of Kenya”.
The work of FoLT is to advocate for the respect of these declarations and implementation of the rights of our people for a healthy environment. As a core function of FoLT, we defend the environmental justice of the people of the Lake Turkana basin and join in campaigns to defend the rights of other minority communities around the world. Here in Kenya, we advocate for policy changes withing county and national governments to ensure that they address the need for a healthy environment. Currently, we are working hand in hand with other stakeholders to ensure that the land, mining, water and oil policies integrate environmental protection in the use of these resources.
A key process for FoLT in this area is the Due Dilligence in Oil where we are concerned with ensuring transparency in exploration and minimization of environmental impacts. Read more about due diligence in oil here.