Integrating Marine Spatial Planning in Governing Kenya’s Land-Sea Interface for A Sustainable Blue Economy  


Olale Philip
University of Nairobi,
Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental
Law and Policy (CASELAP)
P.O. Box 30197-00100
Nairobi, Kenya,

Collins Odote and Robert Kibugi
University of Nairobi,
Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental
Law and Policy (CASELAP),
Nairobi, Kenya


Efficacious governance of the land-sea interface is central to the delivery of a sustainable blue economy. Consequently, marine spatial planning (MSP) has emerged as an approach for integrating marine and land-based uses in recognition of the interlinkages between the land and the sea. Such planning is vital in leveraging the potentials of the blue economy as a source of essential ecosystem goods and services for human wellbeing. It is also critical in rationalizing the rising contestation between anthropogenic uses of the land-sea interface resources and the need for environmental conservation and management. This is in line with Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals which require nations to sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources. However, planning laws and policies in Kenya still continue to focus on land at the expense of the marine areas. As a consequence, the land-sea interface remains unplanned and, hence, not sustainably managed. In 2019, Kenya enacted a new Physical and Land Use Planning Act to align with the Constitutional provisions on planning, devolution, and sustainable development. Despite reforming its planning frameworks and constitutional architecture, this paper argues that Kenya’s regulatory regime still continues with the traditional non-integrated planning approach, which is not promotive of sustainable management of the land-sea interface. The paper recommends the inclusion of marine spatial planning in the regulatory framework as an approach to sustainably manage the land-sea interface.


Blue economy, Kenya, land-sea interface, land use, marine pollution, marine spatial planning, sea use, spatial planning, sustainable.             LEAD Journal - ISSN 1746-5893