Participatory Aspirations of Environmental Governance In East Africa


Nicholas N. Kimani
Assistant Professor
School of Business, United States International University (USIU) and Researcher
Sustainable Development Initiatives Center (SUDIC)
P.O. Box 14634 0800
Nairobi, Kenya


New ways of thinking about governance are challenging our basic understandings about how we organise ourselves in a world that is increasingly characterised by uncertainty, ambiguity and unpredictability, and about how we should organise ourselves (emphasis added). Through consideration of developments in East Africa under the auspices of a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-administered project, the Partnership for Development of Environmental Laws and Institutions (PADELIA), two important considerations clearly stand out. First, in regional approaches to environmental governance law-makers and policy-makers need to go beyond a formalist understanding of governance which lays sole emphasis upon respective countries' institutions and legal frameworks. An appreciation of the extent to which shared understandings and common approaches to problem-solving may be tempered by contingent social, cultural and political circumstances is also necessary. Secondly, given the present trend in environmental governance where governmental authority is increasingly shifting away from state institutions towards civil actors, ever-increasing opportunities are presented to civil actors to shape and reshape their environmental laws and policy. As a result, what is left is for these actors is to be proactive and to take more initiative in safeguarding their own environment.


East Africa, environmental law, governance, institutional design, Kenya, law, PADELIA, Tanzania, Uganda, United Nations Environment Programme.             LEAD Journal - ISSN 1746-5893