Development Corridors through Ecologically Sensitive Areas - in Kenya

Lucy Waruingi
Neil Burgess, 2Diego Juffe Bignoli, 2Lisen Runsten, 1,Tobias Nyumba, 3Dan Olago, 3Catherine Sang; 1African Conservation Centre. Nairobi, KENYA, 2UNEP-WCMC Cambridge, United Kingdom, 3Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, KENYA

Although not a new phenomenon and variously labelled, the number of 'development' or 'economic' corridors have been escalating across Africa and the rest of the world. Often these have been driven generally by globalisation and specifically China's quest for natural resources - with perhaps the most dramatic example being China's 'Belt and Road' initiative. However, concerns have been expressed that these developments have often been taking place with inadequate attention to their potential negative environmental and social impacts. Further, in some cases, doubts have been expressed about some of them ever actually attaining their full development potential for which they are intended. In 2018 a consortium of universities and research institutes from the UK, China, Kenya and Tanzania embarked on a 4-year programme to help develop the capacity to better plan and manage corridors - The Development Corridors Partnership. This programme is bringing together high calibre research scientists to review and evaluate experiences in corridor planning and management in East Africa. Through this work it is also intended to develop guidelines to improve the way corridors are planned and managed globally. This paper will introduce the Development Corridor Partnership and will discuss the practical experiences to date in the development of the China-funded transport corridor - the 'Standard Gauge Railway' (SGR) through ecologically sensitive areas. This links Mombasa and Nairobi and eventually will continue further towards Uganda. The routing of this new railway, albeit following the previous route of the colonial "Lunatic Express" for much of its early stages, controversially traverses both the Tsavo and the Nairobi National Parks. Various mitigation measures have been taken to lessen the impact on wildlife movements during the construction of the railway, but questions are raised about their efficacy and whether or not better planning and wider stakeholder engagement during an Environmental Impact Assessment process could have avoided these iconic high value conservation areas in the first place.

Abstract Keywords
Transport Corridors
road ecology
environmental safeguards