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Kenya intensifying landscape restoration to boost climate resilience

Sunday, July 11th, 2021 07:14 |
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko.PHOTO/COURTESY

Kenya has accelerated the restoration of degraded landscapes, including forests, watersheds and grasslands, to boost climate resilience of rural farmers and herders, officials said on Friday.

Keriako Tobiko, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that restoring degraded ecosystems will boost efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition and resource-based conflicts. 

"We have embarked on the implementation of practical initiatives to restore our degraded landscapes in both high potential and marginal areas, enhance climate resilience of communities and realize green growth," said Tobiko. 

He spoke at the opening of the Kenya National Landscape Restoration Scaling Conference, held virtually in Nairobi to explore innovative strategies to boost the health of fragile ecosystems including forests, wetlands and marine life.

More than 1,000 participants, including policymakers, scientists and green campaigners, will participate in the July 9-16 conference that is expected to chart a new roadmap on ecosystem restoration in Kenya. 

The conference has been organized by Kenya's ministry of environment and forestry and partners including Nairobi-based World Agroforestry, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and World Vision. 

Tobiko said that efforts to restore 5.1 million hectares of degraded land and forest by 2030 had intensified in line with the United Nations Decade for Ecosystems Restoration, which was launched in June. 

The government plans to spend 3.7 billion shillings (34.2 million U.S. dollars) to achieve long-term restoration of vital ecosystems and reap 67.6 million dollars in terms of benefits to the economy, he said.

Julius Kamau, chief conservator of forests at Kenya Forest Service, said that some of the ongoing programs to hasten realization of 10 percent forest cover by 2022 include promoting trees on farms, greening urban landscapes, involvement of women and youth to establish tree seedlings as an enterprise. Bamboo trees are planted to help restore degraded catchments, Kamau said, adding that soil conservation and regreening of arid and semi-arid lands will boost climate resilience and food security for nomadic communities. 

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