World Oceans Day

commemorations at Mombasa Beach on 8th June 2022. The event includes cleanups along the beach in line with the theme of “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean” to raise awareness of the importance of keeping the beach free from litter.

World Environment Day 2022

Background

World Environment Day (WED) is marked globally on the 5th of June every year since 1972 when it was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA); it marked the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the human environment as well as the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The United Nations uses World Environment Day to create awareness and lobby political support for the environmental agenda among governments. Each year, UNEP formulates a global theme to guide World Environment Day activities based on a specific priority environmental issue.

In Kenya, WED was domesticated into the national laws through cabinet minute 136/84 of 1984. The event has since been used to promote environmental awareness among the citizenry and raise individual and corporate responsibility towards the environment.

Historical perspective:

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5–16 in 1972. Only One Earth was the motto for the Stockholm Conference; 50 years on, the motto holds true – this planet is our only home, whose finite resources humanity must safeguard. The United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, was created as a result of this conference.

Sweden first suggested to the United Nations Economic and Social Council ECOSOC in 1968 the idea of having a UN conference to focus on human interactions with the environment. ECOSOC passed resolution 1346 supporting the idea. General Assembly Resolution 2398 in 1969 decided to convene a conference in 1972 and mandated a set of reports from the UN secretary-general suggesting that the conference focus on “stimulating and providing guidelines for action by a national government and international organizations” facing environmental issues.

At the conference itself, divisions between developed and developing countries began to emerge, however, the conference the declaration, which was negotiated at the preparational talks, included a language the declaration regarding population as a threat to the environment and the cause of its degradation. In 1972, environmental governance was not seen as an international priority, particularly for the Global South.

Developing nations supported the creation of the UNEP, not because they supported environmental governance, but because of its headquarters’ location in Nairobi, Kenya, as the UNEP would be the first UN agency to be based in a developing country.

Stockholm Declaration

The meeting agreed upon a Declaration containing 26 principles concerning the environment and development, an Action Plan with 109 recommendations, and a Resolution.

One of the seminal issues that emerged from the conference is the recognition of poverty alleviation for protecting the environment. The Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in her seminal speech at the conference brought forward the connection between ecological management and poverty alleviation.

The Stockholm Conference motivated countries around the world to monitor environmental conditions as well as to create environmental ministries and agencies. Despite these institutional accomplishments, including the establishment of UNEP, the failure to implement most of its action program has prompted the UN to have follow-up conferences.

The succeeding United Nations Conference on Environment and Development convened in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (the Rio Earth Summit), the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) all take their starting point in the declaration of the Stockholm Conference. It has been argued that this conference, and more importantly the scientific conferences preceding it, had a real impact on the environmental policies. Such increased interest and research collaboration arguably paved the way for further understanding of global warming, which has led to such agreements as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement and has given a foundation of modern environmentalism.

UNEP@50

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. Founded in 1972 following the landmark UN Conference on the Human Environment, UNEP was conceived to monitor the state of the environment, inform policy-making with science, and coordinate responses to the world’s environmental challenges.

Since its creation, UNEP has worked closely with its 193 Member States and other stakeholders to galvanize worldwide commitments and coordinate action to address many of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. It also played a leading role as the docking station for 15 multilateral environmental agreements. UNEP’s convening power and rigorous scientific research have provided a platform for countries to engage, act boldly and advance the global environmental agenda.

Having served as an authoritative advocate for the global environment since 1972, UNEP’s aim is to inspire, inform and enable nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Since Stockholm in 1972, global trade has grown tenfold, the global economy has grown nearly fivefold, and the world population has doubled. Human prosperity has on average doubled and development gains have been achieved, but about 1.3 billion people remain poor and at least some 700 million are hungry. The overall environmental situation globally is deteriorating and the window for effective remedial action is closing.

Stockholm +50

By recognizing the importance of multilateralism in tackling the Earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate, nature, and pollution – an International meeting Stockholm+50 organized by UNEP in close consultation with the co-hosts Kenya and Sweden. The meeting anchored in the Decade of Action, under the theme “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity,” will act as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting further considered the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, and the post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, and encourage the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans. The meeting also reinforced the messages and the outcomes of the event to commemorate UNEP’s 50th  anniversary (UNEP@50), which took place in March 2022, in Nairobi

World Environment Day Message from Principal Secretary

Dr. Chris Kiptoo, CBS

This year’s world environment day theme is advocating for a better understanding of earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity conservation and pollution.

Since Stockholm 1972, Kenya has continued to face many environmental challenges that include:

  • Forest loss and degradation, caused by the demand for timber, fibre and fuelwood.
  • Pollution and sedimentation of our marine environment often caused by discharge of waste, chemicals into the ocean, land clearance and increased soil erosion and intensive recreational use or coral mining.
  • Pollution municipal sewage and industrial effluents, overgrazed by domestic animals and land conversion to arable uses.

The Government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is doing all in its might to tackle the issue of earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity conservation and pollution. The Ministry is committed to contributing to the global effort of implementing actions and deliverables toward a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and achieving the 2030 Agenda. The Ministry has been able to initiate sustainability programs which include;

  • Kenya water towers protection and climate change mitigation
  • Natural forest Conservation
  • Mitigation and management of soil loss
  • Lake Naivasha Catchment Management
  • Lake Victoria Basin management
  • Nairobi River Rehabilitation and Restoration,
  • Urban rivers, Catchment Restoration and Rehabilitation
  • Reduced Deforestation and Degradation + Readiness (REDD+),
  • Suswa-Lake Magadi Ecosystem and Environmental Restoration,
  • Tree planting to achieve 10% tree cover.
  • Solid Waste Management and
  • Farm and dry land and forest development

We also note with great appreciation that the Ministry has been helping the government with the implementation of national government flagship projects.

Tackling the issue of earth’s triple planetary crisis is generally a costly undertaking and the Ministry will continue sourcing for funds to invest in managing the triple planetary crisis from private finance, where capital is managed mainly to earn a financial return for the investor. We shall continuously explore public finance where funding comes from the government bodies including international donor support among others.

World Environment Day Message from Cabinet Secretary

Mr. Keriako Tobiko, EGH, SC

Message from Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry

I am pleased to invite you all in this year’s celebrations of world environment day whose theme is on ‘Only One Earth’

Slogan: Together we can protect it

In Kenya, World Environment Day 2022 provides an opportunity to reflect on achievements and challenges in delivering on Stockholm 1972. The day highlights the country’s efforts in restoring ecosystems through minimizing air pollution, chemical waste, managing solid waste and waste water, tackling climate change, biodiversity loss as well as making progress in the management of plastic pollution and marine litter. Kenya has adopted the slogan “Together we can protect it”.

Kenya like many developing nations must work urgently to tackle climate change and biodiversity crisis, while avoiding accelerating pollution and unsustainable behaviors. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is still heading for a temperature rise of near 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.

Even though Kenya contributes less than 0.1 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, heat, drought and floods are impacting Kenyans. Kenya is most vulnerable to climate change since the key drivers of the economy (agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry, and fisheries) are climate-sensitive. Hence climate change continues to adversely impact Kenya’s socio-economic sectors.

Kenya made great strides in environmental sustainability as seen in articles 42, 69 and 70 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, which stipulates the people’s right for a clean and healthy environment. Article 43 gives the right to clean and safe drinking water for all in adequate quantities, accessible and adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation. Article 69 further obligates the State to work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least ten per cent of the land area.

Addressing common drivers – the common thread that runs through this triple planetary crisis namely Climate change, Pollution and Biodiversity loss is unsustainable production and consumption. Efforts are needed to reverse the relentless and unlimited extraction of resources from the earth, the production of waste and pollution, the continued use of fossil fuels, habitat encroachment, and other unsustainable patterns of production and  consumption, all of  which  are  having a  devastating  impact  on  the natural world, propelling climate change, destroying nature, and raising pollution levels.

I am happy to note that the country through my Ministry of Environment and Forestry has made strides in this endeavor of a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and achieving the Vision 2030. The Ministry has initiated programs which tackle the climate, biodiversity crisis and pollution.

This year’s national World Environment Day celebrations will be held at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri County I call  for the people of Nyeri and the public in general to take practical steps to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution in Kenya, in recognition of the mutual benefit for nature and people.

Among the planned buildup activities to mark the World Environment Day include:

  • High Level Panel Discussion at National Museums of Kenya , 26th May 2022
  • Clean up at Mweiga Township 31st  June 2022
  • WED in Schools (Tree Planting in Schools) , 2nd June 2022
  • Bamboo Tree planting at Ragati River- Karatina 3rd June 2022
  • Public Lecture – Dedan Kimathi University of technology Nyeri, 3rd June 2022
  • Climate Change Adaptation Village and Tree Planting – Thome village 4th June 2022
  • Community Forum at Lechugu Secondary School, 4th June 2022
  • National celebrations at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology 6th Monday June 2022

This therefore, is an opportunity for every Kenyan to reflect on the life-link nature gives us and  encourage communities to embrace and preserve the diversity of life which  provides us with the food, fuel, medicine and other essentials for current and future human wellbeing. I wish to call upon all relevant government ministries, departments, agencies, County Governments and the people of Kenya to embrace our slogan ‘Only One Earth’ ‘ Together we can protect it”, so as to secure a better future on a healthy planet.

Let me encourage all our partners and stakeholders to walk the journey of restoring our Planet Earth so that it continues supporting livelihoods of millions of people.