Zoom Webinar | Environmental and Social Impact Assessment procedural steps that underpin conflict identification: Reference to renewable energy resource development in Kenya
Philip Manyi Omenge, Ph.D. Candidate, Egerton University
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is a tool for an integrated assessment of the multifaceted impacts of a proposed project. ESIA can identify areas of potential conflicts and prevent conflicts from occurring early through appropriate mitigation measures. This notwithstanding, conflicts and public opposition arising from the implementation of proposed projects which have been subjected to ESIA have been observed in various sectors in different countries and jurisdictions. Kenya is one of the African countries endowed with substantial renewable energy resources including geothermal, wind, and solar energy resources. The country is now scaling up the development and utilization of these resources to meet growing energy demand. However, the implementation of environmental procedures mainstreamed in the development of renewable energy resources, if inappropriately applied, has the potential to slow down the development and exploitation trajectory of these resources. While all proposed renewable energy projects in Kenya are subjected to the ESIA process, in some instances challenges have emerged during implementation resulting in conflicts that could be avoided. There is a clear need to understand empirically which of the ESIA procedural steps is critical in underpinning conflict identification for the appropriate application.
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Mr. Philip Manyi Omenge is a Senior Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Practitioner in Kenya with over fifteen years of experience. He is a Lead Practicing Member of the Environmental Institute of Kenya (EIK) and a registered and licensed Lead Expert with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Kenya. Besides undertaking environmental and social assessments and audit for World Bank and JICA funded projects such as Kenya Coastal Development Project (KCDP), Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP), Mombasa Port Development Project (MPDP), Mr. Omenge has handled various Impact Assessments for renewable energy projects including East Africa’s first, industrial solar farm installed at Krystalline Salt Limited, Gongoni, Kenya, 36 megawatts wind farm for Mombasa Cement and industrial solar farm for Standard Rolling Mills.
Mr. Omenge holds a Master of Science Degree with a Specialization in Rural Development Studies from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Uppsala, Sweden, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management from Egerton University, Njoro Kenya. Currently, Mr. Omenge is a Ph.D. Candidate at Egerton University, Njoro Kenya, pursuing a doctoral degree program in Natural Resources and Peace. His Ph.D. research focuses on the application of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) procedures for renewable energy projects in Kenya. More specifically the research evaluates the effectiveness of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Tool in identifying and preventing potential conflicts for renewable energy projects in Kenya. The aim of the research is to identify areas of ESIA Tool application that underpin poor conflict identification and prevention for renewable energy projects and provide recommendations to policymakers and practitioners to address the inadequacies. Mr. Omenge has made presentations of his Ph.D. research findings in international conferences around the world. The most recent being in the year 2019 during the 8th International Conference on Energy and Sustainability, held at ITeCons - Institute for Research and Technological Development in Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability, University of Coimbra, Portugal and in 2018 during the 2nd International Conference on Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to improve energy access, University of the Balearic Islands Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
As a Ph.D. Candidate, Mr.Omenge has benefitted from sponsorship from the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) University of Waterloo, Canada. WISE has twice sponsored Mr. Omenge to present in international conferences the first being the 2nd International Conference on Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to improve energy access, held at the University of the Balearic Islands Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Uptake of second sponsorship which was to be in the year 2020 was affected by COVID-19 pandemic, the affected conference remains postponed. Mr. Omenge has immensely benefited from the mentorship of Professor Jatin Nathwani of WISE University of Waterloo through the International Support Network for African Development (ISNAD-Africa) Mentoring for Research Programme (MRP) in the period 2018-2019. As part of his Ph.D. program, Mr. Omenge has published two scientific papers in international journals. Together with his Ph.D. Supervisors from Kenya Prof. Obwoyere, Dr. Eshiamwata, and Dr. Makindi, and his mentor Professor Jatin Nathwani have collectively co-authored and published a research paper in the International Journal of Energy Production and Management. Mr. Omenge is a participating member of the Affordable Energy for Humanity global change initiative (AE4H), a global consortium of researchers and practitioners committed to ending energy poverty through the sustainable development of clean technologies.