CoCooN Initiative Kenya Programme – ‘Land grab’ and dwindling water resources: reconciling competing claims and conflicts over natural resources in Africa’s dry lands, specifically Kenya

This project was initiated by ASCL Senior Researcher Marcel Rutten, who sadly passed away on 12 january 2020, and external affiliate Moses Mwangi, Chair of the School of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Management, South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU). Moses Mwangi will continue this project.

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 conflict. The mainstream argument is that scarcity induces conflicts, but a lack of resources may in fact bring about cooperation. This project investigates the circumstances in which the two scenarios prevail. The study covers five water basins in Kenya (Rift Valley (Turkana), Ewaso Ny’iro North, Tana, Athi and Lake Victoria (Mara)) and seeks to provide evidence of the complex relationship between the supply of natural resources and long-term trends in (violent) conflicts. Specific attention is being paid to climate change versus direct outside human interference (i.e. land/water grab).

Research is also devoted to innovative legal and technological ways to overcome these conflicts. The findings of the project aim to contribute to reconciliation efforts and improving policy on land and water governance in the five water basins in Kenya. Partners in this project include South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU), Kenya. Publications, past events and updates about the project are available here:

Research project

External affiliates

Moses Mwangi, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU)