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PRESIDENT LAUDS CREATION OF GREEN SPACES IN CITIES.

By Anne Kaari

 

Kenya Forest Service had the pleasure of hosting His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nairobi Arboretum in marking the World Environment Day 2020 themed "Celebrate biodiversity." He was received by KFS Board Chairman Peter Kinyua and the Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau. Nairobi Arboretum, is one of Kenya's most visited green space bordering the State House and plays host to a wide array of biodiversity including over 365 tree species.

 

The President noted the great strides Kenya has so far achieved in sustainable development, restoration, and preservation of its biodiversity and challenged Kenyans to ensure that the heritage they have is protected and bequeathed to future generations as a gift.

 

President Kenyatta also paid tribute to environment champions, such as the late Professor Wangari Maathai, whom he said that through her passion and achievements in environment conservation, Kenya stands as one of the most bio-diverse nations worldwide. The President urged Kenyans to emulate the late Nobel Laureate

 

“It is in recognition of these riches that drove the Nobel Peace Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai, to celebrate our environment and to dedicate herself to protecting it.  We must emulate Wangari’s example, and show by our stewardship that we too are worthy heirs,” the President said.

 

President Kenyatta said the government is fully committed to the conservation agenda and mentioned a number of ongoing initiatives among them the restoration of Michuki Park which is being spearheaded by Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and its SAGAs led by Kenya Forest Service, and also the expansion of Nairobi National Park and the reclamation of grabbed forest lands. 

 

He noted the importance of green spaces, adding that the Government was keen on ensuring they are restored and protected.

“We are also reclaiming our Ngong Forest and we are going to start the process of fencing it and ensuring that it is also available not only for the present but for future generations," said President Kenyatta.

He underscored the key role forests play as a reservoir of biodiversity saying Kenya is on course to achieving the 10 percent national tree cover target.

 

As part of the Government's conservation agenda, the President said all major infrastructure projects including the Standard Gauge Railway are being implemented in a manner that ensures that biodiversity is not tampered with.

“As a Government, we have also taken steps to ensure that the infrastructure projects being implemented, which are a key driver of economic growth, do not cause any degradation to our natural habitats and biodiversity,” President Kenyatta said. 

He said the Government continues to expand the number and size of conservancies, arboreta, parks, and wildlife reserves so as to ensure the country’s botanical and zoological diversity is maintained.  

 

The President called for closer cooperation between government entities, the private sector, and local communities saying such collaborations have enabled Kenya to register a fall in wildlife poaching incidents, illegal logging, and human-wildlife conflicts.

The President also witnessed the groundbreaking of a borehole at the arboretum that will serve in setting up of a one million tree seedlings nursery towards attaining the 10% tree cover by 2022.

 

In his speech, the KFS Board Chairman Mr Peter Kinyua noted the work being undertaken to increase tree cover to 10 percent by 2022 whereby over five million trees have been planted countrywide in the last two months. He commended various partners for contributing to tree growing and forest conservation and thanked Athi Water Works Development Agency for drilling the borehole.

 

The Chief Conservator of Forests Mr. Julius Kamau who signed the Forest Management Agreement with the Chairperson of the Nairobi Arboretum CFA, Brian Waruhiu, committed to leading the Service in securing all public forests and increasing green spaces including Hon John Michuki Memorial Park, Ngong Road Forest among others. 

 

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko was represented by the Principal Secretary, Dr Chris Kiptoo. Other dignitaries included Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, EU Ambassador Simion Mordue, British High Commissioner Jane Marriot, Ambassador of Finland Eric Lindberg, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa and Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohamed Badi.

 

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