‘Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace’ inspires a ‘Dialogue on Land and Human Security’ in Kenya

‘Brother is turning against brother... We need a mind-set shift.’

ILLP group under the tree


In the context of a drought that has put three million people in need of emergency food aid and killed millions of livestock, the second annual ‘International Dialogue on Land and Human Security in Kenya’ was held in an effort to mitigate conflict and reverse environmental degradation in the region.

This Dialogue comes at a critical time, when we face challenges of insecurity caused by resource scarcity,’ said H E Alex Tolgos, Governor of Elgeyo Marakwet County. ‘Scarcity of food, pasture and water has resulted in a brother turning against a brother. ‘We have lost 100 lives in the last year due to conflict [in this County]’, Governor Tolgos continued. ‘We cannot afford to continue as before. We need a mind-set shift to address the problems in a sustainable way.’

Governor Tolgos was one of many speakers at the event, hosted by the County Government and inspired by Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace. Fifty participants, including national agency and county government officials, traditional elders and civil society representatives, gathered to address the theme of ‘Conflict mitigation through sustainable development’.

Member of the International Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace (ILLP) Steering Committee Dr Alan Channer shared that, ‘These Dialogues were started because we know that the vicious cycle of environmental degradation and conflict can be reversed. Reviving degraded land, improving water management, restoring trust between people – these can heal entire ecosystems and give life to communities and the Earth in all its fullness.’

All the participants lit candles in memory of the lives lost due to ethnic clashes and cattle rustling in the region.

Deputy Governor Dr Gabriel Lagat, whose vision had first brought the dialogues from Caux (the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux, Switzerland) to Kenya, concluded the gathering by urging participants to adopt 30 recommendations. These include strengthening the role of Councils of Elders so that they can help mediate disputes and making the ‘Dialogues on Land and Security’ an annual event rotating in the affected counties of Kenya.

Highlights of the Dialogue were broadcast on national television primetime news.

The Dialogue was funded by the Elgeyo Marakwet County Government, the National Land Commission, Kenya Commercial Bank and Transnational Bank.

This article is an excerpt from a full report written by Dr Alan Channer & Simon Thuo.


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