Humboldt Kolleg Nairobi April 9-12, 2013 Conference

The First Technical University of Kenya Environmental and Development Conference on

"Linking Environmental Research to Kenya's Development Agenda and Vision 2030"

Organizers : Professor J.O. Lalah, Dr Paul Njiru and Dr Hesbon Nyagowa

  • Background

Kenya has put in place a national long-term development blue-print, "Vision 2030", to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life, that aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment. The country is currently going through a rapid phase of socio-economic development in all sectors of its economy, including rapid growth in population, agriculture, industries, infrastructure and exploitation of natural resources such as energy and water resources. The expansion and intensification of agro-industrial activities involve increased usage of agrochemicals and other industrial chemicals, with subsequent release of various types of chemical residues which could have adverse effects on water resources, human beings and ecosystem health. For sustainable development environmental research and monitoring is needed to protect the environment from pollution in many key areas such as fisheries, water resources, wildlife, public health, agriculture and the natural capital (bio-resources). In order to address the issues a conference entitled "Linking Environmental Research to Kenya's Development Agenda and Vision 2030" was organised by the Technical University of Kenya, in particular by Professor J. O. Lalah, Dr. P. Njiruh and Dr. H. Nyagowa, in Red Court Hotel Nairobi on 9 - 12 April, 2013. The conference, which was organised in conjunction with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and supported by IUPAC and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), attracted 90delegates including seven participants from outside of Kenya. The program was organised with plenary sessions including keynote presentations and five simultaneous technical sessions dealing with environmental and human health; environmental conservation and technologies; environmental monitoring and impact assessment; industry and water; and all other topics.

  • Objectives

The objective of the conference was to bring together key researchers and stakeholders involved in environmental research and management in the East African region to review the current status of environmental research, monitoring and capacity in Kenya, in line with "Vision 2030" and to strengthen collaboration with institutions such as AvH, IUPAC and DAAD.

  • Keynotes Speakers

Keynote presentations were made by the Vice Chancellor of the Technical University of Kenya, Prof. Dr. Ing. Francis Aduol, who also officially opened the conference, and Representatives and CEOs of the Kenyan government from various ministries and parastatals including the Higher Education Science and Technology, Energy, and Environment and Mineral Resources, the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), The Kenya Vision 2030, Multimedia University, Technical University of Kenya, the National Biosafety Authority and the Institute of Climate Change of the University of Nairobi. These presentations focussed on the situation regarding environmental research and technology in Kenya and also looked forward to what is needed to ensure that the current progress is maintained in protecting the environment and health, particularly in the areas of agriculture, education, communications, environmental pollution and waste management. Other topics that were covered included: potential areas of student funding and co-operation, the role of the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the relevant statutes pertaining to environmental laws, conventional and alternative energies, electronic technologies, water treatment and management, GMO foods and the possible effects of climate change.

  • Foreign Speakers

Invited speakers also gave general presentations on "Environmental Chemistry, Industrial Progress and Sustainability for Societal Development" (Professor H. Frank - University of Bayreuth, Germany); Molecular Exposomics: Status, Perspectives and Challenges" (Professor K-W. Schramm - Helmholtz Zentrum, Munich, Germany); "Organic and Inorganic Trace Contaminants in Water: Analysis, Existing and Advanced Technologies" (Dr. S. Küppers - Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany) and "Pesticides: Exploring their Risks and Benefits" (Dr. J. B. Unsworth - Chelmsford, UK. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and DAAD were represented by Dr Thomas Scheidtweiler (Head of Division for Africa and Middle East) and Ms Jutta Quade (Deputy Director- DAAD Regional Office for Africa), respectively, while IUPAC was represented by Dr J.B. Unsworth ( Chairman, IUPAC Advisory Committee on Crop Protection Chemistry). Overall, the responses received from the participants have indicated that the conference was very successful and most parts of the objective were met. The attendance was quite good despite few last minute cancellations.

  • Research paper presentation

Over 50 research papers were presented. In particular, the conference was able to provide an opportunity for many young scientists drawn mainly from the Public and Private Universities, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) to listen to the keynote presentations and present their research work. Most of the expected manuscripts have been received by the conveners for publication in a book of proceedings which will be made available shortly to the public.

  • Organizers and contacts

Prof J.O. Lalah (lalahjoseph@yahoo.com), Dr P. Njiru (njiruhpaul@gmail.com) or Dr H. Nyagowa (nyagowa_hesbon@yahoo.co.uk).