The Environment and Land Court (ELC) was established in the year 2011 as one of the superior courts in line with the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The mandate of the court is to hear disputes related to the environment and land. The first group of 15 judges of the court was appointed by the President on 3rd October, 2012. Currently, the Environment and Land Court has 37 courts countrywide with a total of 53 Judges.
The role of the Court is essential in the actualization of the right to a clean and healthy environment; the protection of the right to property (land); and achievement of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the SDGs critical to the Court, are; SDG 16 whose crux is “to provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” and SDGs 11,13, 14 and 15 on sustainable cities and communities, climate action, life below water and life on land respectively.
Further, Chapter 3 of the Judiciary’s Social Transformation through Access to Justice Vision published in September 2021 emphasizes on deepened partnerships that enhance coordination in the administration of justice as one of the ways in which social transformation can be achieved through access to justice. It is in this spirit that the Environment and Land Court seeks, in collaboration with state and non-state actors, to commemorate the ten years it has been in existence by holding a conference bringing together actors in the environment and land sector in Kenya, Africa and globally to share the experiences and propose strategies that are required to deliver justice and promote, not only the rule of law, but protect the environment and ensure access to land.
Therefore, on 28th November- 2nd December, 2022 in Kilifi County, the Environment and Land Court, together with other stakeholders will commemorate and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the court.
In marking this milestone, the ELC will hold a conference alongside a series of activities which will bring together the Judges, Magistrates, Tribunals related to the environment and land, the Environment and Land Court User Committee members, the relevant Ministries, academia, development partners, UN Agencies, other regional bodies, media and Wananchi. Children will be key participants at the conference through their various schools and institutions.
Objectives of the ELC@10 Conference
The main objectives of this conference are;
- To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the ELC
- To highlight major achievements and constraints in the operationalization of the ELC.
- To provide a platform for discussion on matters related to the environment and land.
At the conference, the participants will review the impact that the court has had to Kenyans and the environment for the past ten years. The main focus will be on lessons learnt from the efforts made by the Judiciary in setting up the court and implementing Article 162(2) of the Constitution and the Environment and Land Act.
The discussions at the conference will:
- Identify achievements and examples of best practices;
- Identify challenges and constraints;
- Formulate recommendations for future improvement.
Who can attend the conference?
The conference targets attendees from the following sectors.
- The Judiciary- Environment and Land Court
- National Government
- County Governments
- Development Partners
- Independent Offices
- Constitutional Commissions
- Civil Society and Community Based Organizations
- Children and Youth
- Religious institutions
- Law Society of Kenya
- Professional bodies
- International and local delegates
- Representatives of people with special needs
- Private sector practitioners
Pre- Conference Activities
- Prior to the conference, there have been activities in which all the 37 ELC stations were engaged. These activities include; greening of the courts, cleaning of rivers and beaches, growing of trees to contribute to the enhanced tree cover in Kenya, greening of the environment in schools to create a clean, hygienic learning environment, beautification of green space areas in the Counties.
- In a bid to ensure greening and Environmental conservation, the Environment and Lands Courts have also undertaken to planting trees. More than 10,000 trees have been planted across the Country.
- The Courts have also held open days and media engagements where the Judges and other judicial officers have reached out to the public and shared information on the workings of the Court.