Capacity building and training are key elements of spearheading service delivery to members of the public. The County Government of Vihiga through the department of Environment, Water, Energy and Natural resource and in collaboration with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Kenya Devolution Support Program conducted a seven days training that will enable environment officers sensitize and enforce environmental legislations.
The 37 county government officers were taken through environmental legislations, enforcement options, powers of environment inspectors, roles of an investigating officer, proving offences, crime scene management, laws of evidence, court structures and handling of exhibits.
Dr.Catherine Mbaisi who was among the NEMA facilitators said the officers have also been trained on how to record witness statements, records handling, practical investigations, interviewing skills and case presentation.
“We have been able to look at the law, we are not just looking at EMCA but this course enables the participants to practice any law that addresses environmental issues, they can address the forest, water act and that’s why we trained them in all sectors”, said Dr.Mbaisi.
Senior Resident Magistrate Noelyne Akee together with Ms Robina Andia (advocate of the high court) took the trainees through mock trial on compilation of case files and court proceedings.
Speaking while closing the workshop, Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo said his Government is establishing legislations in line with Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) that will reclaim back the destroyed environment in Vihiga.
“At Council of Governors we are pushing for the same training in all the 47 counties to enable our officers to carry out enforcement of environmental legislations. In Vihiga we want to be a model county in terms of environmental compliance”, said Dr. Ottichilo.
Dr.Ottichilo said his Government will set up a vibrant unit of environmental inspectors who will carry out inspections and inventories that will assist the County address environmental challenges.
“I am looking forward to see this county zoned into various zones depending on environmental hazards so that when we carry out sensitization to the public it should go in line with environmental effects of the area” , added County Boss.
The County boss called for implementation of available legal framework under Environmental Management Coordination Authority (EMCA) as he observed that this country has enough regulations and policies that can protect our environment.
County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Environment Water Energy and Natural resources Mary Amalemba said that the department will carry out public participation and sensitization, a move that will equip members of the public with knowledge on environmental conservation and legal framework.
The County Chief Officer for Environment, Energy and Natural resources (Dr.Richard Boiyo) said that the trained officers will be subjected to a vigorous vetting before being gazzetted and certified as environmental inspectors. He added that the environmental inspectors will sensitize the public on various areas requiring compliance such as forestry, waste management and mining.
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