Greening Kenya for environmental sustainabilityKSG-admin
By Pauline Ngurukie
Climate change ranks among one of the greatest global issues today, with the forest dependent communities bearing the brunt of changing weather patterns.
The Kenyan economy, specifically agriculture and tourism, which support the livelihoods of a majority of people, has not been spared from the effects of climate change. Declining forest cover has affected water towers as well as wildlife diversity.
It is against this backdrop that the President issued a decree that the attainment of 10 per cent of the national tree cover be accelerated so as to be realized by 2022 as intended. Subsequently, directives were issued that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) commit at least 10 per cent of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget to tree planting activities.
The benefits to accrue from this program include mitigating climate change and raising environmental awareness, generating income for households and communities, besides attaining the constitutional requirement of 10 per cent tree cover.
The National Youth Service and the Kenya Prisons came together in a joint program dubbed ‘Greening Kenya’ to grow 50 million tree seedlings to help meet the set target.
Speaking during the launch of the project at the National Youth Service (NYS) Headquarters in Ruaraka, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender Prof. Margaret Kobia highlighted the need to plant trees in order to confront the effects of climate change and the increasing intensity and magnitude of weather-related disasters in the country which have led to aggravated conflicts over natural resources such as pasture and water.
“The importance of planting trees and achieving adequate forest cover in our country cannot be overstated. Our country is experiencing unpredictable changes in weather patterns that have led to extreme weather occurrences like droughts, famine, and flooding. Environmental scientists have advised that the only way we to stabilize these extreme occurrences in our region is by planting more trees,” Prof. Kobia said.
The Cabinet Secretary urged MDAs to honour the Presidential directive and ensure nationwide tree planting in their respective environments.
“It is our duty and our responsibility as Kenyans and government officers to participate in the recovery of our forest coverage from 7 per cent to 10 per cent,” reiterated Prof. Kobia.
The launch was followed by symbolic planting of 1000 seedlings, an addition to the 1.7 million already planted by the two MDAs during the Financial Year 2019-2020.
Present at the event was the Principal Secretary in the State Department for Public Service Mrs. Mary Kimonye, Principal Secretary State Department for Gender Prof. Collette Suda, Kenya School of Government Director General Prof. Ludeki Chweya, NYS Chairman Rtd. General Njuki Mwaniki, and NYS Director General Ms. Matilda Sakwa among other senior government officials.