Cocoon Initiative - Kenya

“Land Grab” and Dwindling Water Resources: Reconciling competing claims and conflicts over natural resources in Africa’s dry lands, specifically Kenya

The overall objective of this project is to assess the significance of natural resources, particularly land and water, in causing conflicts or enhancing cooperation in the (semi)arid regions of Africa. The main consortium of partners in this project are WISP, Cordaid, SEUCO University, Kenya and African Studies Center, Netherlands.The studies are carried out in four river basins in Kenya (Lake Turkana, Ewaso Ny’iro North, the Tana river and Athi catchment). The proposed research and its expected outcomes meet the global goals of the Millennium Development Goals. The findings are expected to have relevance for understanding and solving resource-based conflicts in the wider Horn of Africa.

 

Map of Kenya Showing the 4 Basins

Map of Kenya Showing the 4 Basins

Photo: WISP

The research is being carried out in Kenya at four locations: Lake Turkana Basin of North-western Kenya (with transboundary element with Ethiopia), Ewaso Ny’iro North Basin, northern Kenya, the Tana Delta of South-eastern Kenya and the Athi Catchment in southern Kenya.

Semi-arid Africa is seen as a fertile battleground for conflicts related to natural resources, notably water and grazing land. However, there are divergent views regarding the relationship between the availability of these resources and the prevalence of conflicts. The mainstream argument is that scarcity induces conflicts, but lack of resources may bring about cooperation as well. This project will investigate under which circumstances the two scenarios prevail. The research seeks to provide evidence-based complex relationships between natural resources supply and long-term trends in (violent) conflicts. Specific attention will be paid to climate change versus direct outside human interference (i.e. land/water grab). The findings of the project are expected to contribute towards technological and management solutions, reconciliation efforts and improve public policy on conflict-prone water basins in Kenya. It will strengthen African research capacity and its outcomes will be widely distributed among relevant stakeholders including local pastoralists, NGOs and relevant ministries.

Lake Turkana Basin
  • Lake Turkana Northwest

    Lake Turkana Northwest

    Photo: Africa Travel Resources

Ewaso Ngiro River Basin
  • Ewaso Ngiro River Basin

    Ewaso Ngiro River Basin

    Photo: WISP

Tana River Basin
  • Tana River

    Tana River

    Photo: WISP

Athi River Catchment
  • Athi River

    Athi River

    Photo: WISP