The 2015 Imarisha Naivasha Annual Stakeholders Conference

The 2015 Imarisha Naivasha Annual Stakeholders Conference held at the Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge in Naivasha was a flying success. The organizers and the participants cited the diversity of stakeholders' who participated, quality of presentations and vibrant debate during this year's event as markers of its success.
Coming in the backdrop of ongoing international talks on climate change in Paris, France, the annual event, whose theme was "Environmental Sustainability for Climate Change Resilience", featured presentations that had strong thematic leanings towards climate change adaptation and resilience.
Beside the presentations, the event also included exhibitions on the sidelines of the talks to showcase some of the products of diverse interventions and innovations that have been adopted within the Basin.
Participants took time off the conference presentations and discussions to visit the exhibition stands erected inside a large tent beside the main meeting hall to learn more about innovations in the fields of alternative energy, solid waste management, apiculture, sanitation, agriculture and tourism. These are some of the innovations that are being adopted by the local communities to overcome climate change challenges.
The exhibitors included Friends of Kinangop who showcased tourism products, Wool spinners who brought sheep wool products, Sanivation who deal with sanitation around Naivasha, and Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (KWSTI) who brought education material on wildlife.
Others were Hifadhi Farmers Cooperative who showcased modern apiculture equipment, Kwa Muhia Environmental Group who deal with solid waste management and the Ministry of Agriculture who exhibited food crops and advised on modern farming methods.
The GIZ Energizing Development (EnDev) Program did not exhibit but had a presentation and banners on the energy saving jikos that it is promoting within the Basin.
Inside the main hall where the conference was taking place, a renowned group of presenters dominated the program. There was also a panel plenary to stimulate discussions among participants on some of the pertinent issues facing the Basin.
In his opening speech, the Imarisha Naivasha Management Board Chairman, Cyrus Karingithi, welcomed participants to the conference, saying that it offered an opportunity to build strategic partnerships towards finding lasting solutions to some of the social and ecological challenges facing the Basin.
"There is need for all stakeholders to come together in a strategic partnership to ensure that the collective dream we have for this Basin, one that guarantees economic prosperity and environmental sustainability beyond this generation and the next, is achieved," he said.
After the official opening of the conference, the presenters took centre stage, moderated by Lake Naivasha Growers Group (LNGG) CEO and Imarisha Naivasha Board member, Joseph Kariuki and Imarisha Naivasha CEO, Kamau Mbogo. Mr Kariuki introduced the presenters, who had 10 minutes each to conclude their presentations.
First up was Dr. Francis Mwaura who gave a talk on the domestication of the 2009 climate change response strategy in the Lake Naivasha Basin to set the mood for the events. Prof. David Harper, an eminent scholar and researcher, was next with a presentation on how the Lake Naivasha Basin could lead the world with win-win mitigation solutions into climate change.
This was followed by Dr. Oliver Nasirwa who showed trends of water bird numbers in Lake Naivasha from 1991 to 2015 and Timothy Mwinami who revealed the biodiversity trends within the Basin. It is important to note that birds are a very critical indicator in monitoring ecosystem health and climatic changes.
Daniel Koros of WWF gave a talk on farming for climate change resilience in the Basin before Maxwel Musoka of the GIZ Energizing Development in Kenya (EnDev) program stepped to the podium to give a presentation on the energy saving jikos initiative within the Basin.
Before wrapping up the morning session, a panel plenary moderated by Willis Memo of the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) engaged the audience in discussions on some of the pertinent issues afflicting the Basin.
Prof. David Harper once again challenged participants with a presentation on human influences on ecosystem change that showed how increasing vegetation cover could lead to significant cooling of the earth surface and enhanced water retention capacity in the atmosphere.
Reconcile CEO Shadrack Omondi delivered a talk on devolution and opportunities in environmental resource management while Bernard Omuya presented on the prospects of water resource management within the Lake Naivasha Basin.
LANAWRUA chairman Enoch Kiminta gave insight into community and stakeholder participation in natural resource management before the session wrapped up for lunch.
In the afternoon session, more presenters took to the stage. The GIZ Project Manager in charge of the INWaSP program, James Chomba, talked about managing shared threats towards water security within the Lake Naivasha Basin.
Lake Naivasha Riparian Association (LNRA) Monitoring Officer Silas Wanjala, presented on the status and opportunities in waste management in Naivasha. Tesfaye B. Woldeyohanes, a doctoral student from the University of Bonn in Germany, presented his thesis work on hydro-ecological modeling of water resources management in the Lake Naivasha Basin for resilience assessment. Tesfaye is in Basin to do more study on this research topic.
The Naivasha Sub County Agricultural Officer, Dorothy Lemein, talked about agriculture and adaptation to climate change, while the Fisheries Officer, Mathew Ngila, presented on the status of fisheries in Lake Naivasha.
Last to present was James Last, who had also been acting as the moderator of the afternoon session together with Japheth Koros of GIZ. He gave a talk on the current status of catfish in Lake Naivasha. A short plenary session capped an engaging evening, after which Imarisha Naivasha CEO, Kamau Mbogo, delivered a speech to thank the participants and exhibitors.
After a prayer session, the meeting was concluded by the MC of the day, Ruth Gathura, who wished everyone journey mercies as they travelled back to their respective destinations. Thus ended a day filled with a lot of activity and debate, all centering on climate change and how the Lake Naivasha Basin can best cope with the adverse effects.
A subject covered exhaustively in the encompassing theme, "environmental sustainability for climate change resilience", climate change is an issue of national and international concern. As noted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity generate significant and practical nature-based solutions to climate change.
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