Seeking coordination in the complexity: lessons from efforts to mitigate environmental impacts of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor in northern Kenya

Sarah Chiles, Grevy's Zebra Trust and Ewaso Lions
Belinda Low (Grevy's Zebra Trust), Shivani Bhalla (Ewaso Lions)
Topic Area
Mitigation for Transportation Projects

The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor comprises a complex suite of infrastructure projects intended to unlock the economic potential of oil and trade in the East Africa region. As part of its plans under LAPSSET, the government of Kenya is facilitating unprecedented and rapid investment in linear infrastructure in the arid and semi-arid lands of northern Kenya. The projects, in various stages of development, include highways, a standard gauge railway, a crude oil pipeline and a transmission line. These are being routed through the biodiversity-rich Ewaso Nyiro North Basin, a landscape renowned for its protected areas, community conservancies and endemic species. The Basin cuts across multiple county boundaries and is therefore under varied governance regimes.

Efforts to mitigate the environmental impacts of LAPSSET have highlighted the critical importance of building on existing county, project and stakeholder relationships to generate new forms of coordination for managing the corridor's complexity. We analyse the success of mitigation efforts for selected LAPSSET projects, and draw out lessons for coordination at three levels: county government, project management, and stakeholder forums. We show that new types of capacity, knowledge management, and communication are needed to secure meaningful environmental governance of LAPSSET at a landscape scale.

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