9 May 2016

Kenya wins Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence

Tana River Delta team celebrating with the award - (from left) Paul Matiku – Nature Kenya, Helen Byron – RSPB, Peter Nielsen - Planning Green Futures, Sarah Sanders – RSPB ©RTPI
By Nature Kenya

Kenya’s Tana River Delta Land Use Plan (LUP) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) have won a prestigious international award for planning excellence. The Tana River Delta LUP and SEA scooped the International Award for Planning Excellence during this year’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence ceremony held in London on 5th May 2016.

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence highlight exceptional examples of planning and celebrate the contribution that planners and planning makes to society. The awards have been running for more than 30 years and are strongly contested across various categories.

“We are delighted at winning this award. The Tana River Delta LUP which was unveiled in June last year is a ground-breaking new way to manage land and natural resources that is being pioneered for the first time in Kenya,” said Dr. Paul Matiku, the Executive Director of Nature Kenya (BirdLife in Kenya). “It is a holistic framework that will guide policy and decision making on future development of the Delta.”

Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife International’s Regional Director for Africa said it was a great honour for Nature Kenya to scoop the award, “BirdLife congratulates Nature Kenya, the Government of Kenya and County Governments for winning this award that recognizes the intricate links between biodiversity and development.  BirdLife will be playing its part to promote the replication of this planning approach in other river delta systems across Africa.”

The Land Use Plan recommendations were developed through careful analysis of current trends and future scenarios. It will ensure increased accessibility of quality water, improved sustainable livelihoods, security, equity, enhanced biodiversity conservation and increased tree cover.

“This outstanding entry strongly addressed all of the criteria and the judges were impressed by the entry’s ability to draw inspiration from other planning projects and tailor them to the unique situation. In doing this they have left a legacy for future planners in the area, ”said Roisin Wilmott, RTPI awards adviser.

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Sarah Sanders, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife in the UK) said, “This award demonstrates it is possible to achieve a balance between conservation and developing through careful planning.  We trust Tana will be an example to other ecosystems in Kenya and throughout Africa."

The Land Use Plan for Tana Delta was developed through collaborative effort of various stakeholders at local, national and international levels. It was informed by the Strategic Environmental Assessment report for the area – an in-depth analysis of existing socio-economic and environmental conditions within the Delta and the River Tana catchment. It was the first time in Kenya and in Africa, that a Land Use Plan had been informed by a Strategic Environmental Assessment.

The Tana River Delta LUP and SEA entry from Kenya beat seven other finalists from Africa, America and Asia to scoop the award.


For more information contact: Serah Munguti and