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Tana River Delta scheme scoops first RTPI international award

Words: Huw Morris

Kenya’s Tana River Delta land use plan and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) has won the RTPI’s inaugural International Award for Planning Excellence.

The groundbreaking scheme, Kenya’s first integrated spatial plan and SEA - is a framework for protecting one of Africa’s most important wetlands.

It aims to support livelihoods, resolve land conflicts and create economic opportunities in ecotourism, food processing and resource development. The scheme has been adopted at national and county levels and its principles are being rolled out elsewhere in the country.

Nature Kenya executive director Paul Matiku told The Planner that building trust among communities was crucial to the scheme's success as the planning process had to contend with ethnic clashes in the delta, leading to the deaths of 120 people, as well as terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab.

The delta had also been beset by severe droughts and fierce legal battles between developers and local people over land rights.

“Through this process local people discovered they had rights,” he added.

The organisations behind the scheme include the Governments of Tana County and Lamu County, the Government of Kenya, Deltas Inter-ministerial Technical Committee Tana Planning Advisory Committee Nature Kenya, RSPB, Planning Green Futures, Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment, UK Aid, Wetlands Alliance, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Read about all the winners announced at the awards here.

A full case study of this scheme will feature in the July edition of The Planner.