Policy Brief Series Volume 2, Issue 1: Land matters: The role of land policies and laws for environmental migration in Kenya

Jeanette Schade
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Environmental migration is inevitably linked to the question of land for several reasons: (a) environmental and climate change reduces the amount of habitable land; (b) more land is needed to accommodate those who leave such areas; and (c) land policies are decisive factors in determining people’s resilience at places of origin, as well as successful establishment at destinations. In Kenya, land tenure insecurity is a major factor of vulnerability to environmental change. Based on a review of Kenyan land legislation for the Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project, this policy brief analyses the ongoing land reform process in Kenya, and its potentials and shortcomings that contribute to the management of environmental migration, as well as mitigate pressures to migrate. This two-pronged approach is in line with Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan but impaired by current delays in implementing the policy objectives of the Kenyan Constitution and the New Land Policy. The author recommends accelerated efforts in this direction and to incorporate measures to mitigate land tenure insecurity in disaster management frameworks.