Assessment of the implementation of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Kenya
Kilonzo, Nicholus Musembi
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Many states have ratified international agreements with limited success in their implementation thus making policy implementation questionable in most jurisdictions. Adoption of treaties in some countries is often just symbolic as many such countries experience a problem of fit between the international agreements and implementing national and local institutions. Studying CITES implementation is key for biodiversity conservation, at international level and national level. The main objective of the current study was to assess the extent of jurisdictional and institutional scale fit in the implementation of CITES in Kenya. The specific objectives were, to assess capacity of state actors responsible for the implementation of CITES, to assess the level of coordination of the actors responsible for implementing CITES requirements and objectives in Kenya, to assess the level of accountability of state actors responsible for implementation of CITES in Kenya and assessing attitudes and perceptions of the local community on the performance of the designated authorities. Exploratory, descriptive and interpretive research designs were used. Thirty-eight Key Informant interviews and 350 household surveys were conducted for data collection. Key informants were purposively selected while households were randomly selected. For objective 1 to 3 percentages and quantitative data analysis was used. in objective 4, percentages, Kruskal Wallis H test and Man Whitney U test were used to determine association between social economic and demographic factors and key statements on attitudes and perceptions. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. On capacity, 65.8% of the respondents indicated that the structure was moderately suitable, while on coordination 60.5% of the study participants indicated that coordination between counties and central government was moderate. There was a significant statistical difference in dominant narratives on key statements on attitudes and perceptions towards designated authorities across age groups, distance from the park boundary and period spent in the areas. Moderate structural fit can imply that it will be hard to deal with issues of conflicting processes, unequal control and apparent interdependence of institutions. Suboptimal coordination between national and counties means that counties might have failed in developing their capacities for which can allow them to assume policy control. In conclusion, there is a mismatch between staffing and workload and coordination among agencies is rated fair. There is need to boost the interplay between the central and local government in enforcement of CITES through joint strategies and plans. The Judiciary should set up specified courts/ Divisions of courts of trying wildlife related offences for effective prosecution and to secure more convictions, there is need for government institutions to consider developing capacity building plans and strategies as well as set appropriate budgets to implement them to enhance competence and boost career progression.