Restoring Maragoli Hills Forest

By Joshua Kolondo – Vihiga

The world is losing 10 million hectares of forest – an area about the size of the Republic of Korea or 22 times the size of the Republic of Kenya – each year through deforestation. Land degradation affects almost 2 billion hectares, an area larger than South America. This has many adverse effects. Forest loss and degradation are responsible for the emission of large amounts of climate-warming gases, and at least 8 percent of forest plants and 5 percent of
forest animals are currently at extremely high risk of
extinction. Degradation alone affects the well-being of 3.2 billion people and costs more than 10 percent of the annual global gross product in lost ecosystem services.
Maragoli Hills forest in Vihiga County has suffered
years of massive destruction that started in the early 1990s and has left it a pale shadow of its former self. Today, shrubs, scattered trees, nurseries, planted seedlings, and rocky hills are the key features that welcome a visitor to the 1,000-acre forest. About 20 streams emanating from the foot of the forest have dried up, leaving behind caves that have a special meaning for locals. With the ongoing aggressive reforestation efforts supported by the national and county governments, however, is that the forest’s restoration journey has been characterized by resistance and lack of cooperation from some people in the local community who fear they may be evicted. Consequently, the restoration efforts are taking ages to show the expected results with at least seven villages neighboring the forest standing in the way of restoration efforts. They are Muguga, Idabwongo, Buhane, Inavi, Lodonyi, Liavora, and Kisingilo. The villages are home to at least 100
families sitting on about 40 acres said to be part of the
forest cover. The restoration and responsible management of forests will address these crises simultaneously by re-establishing habitats, producing goods and services needed for sustainable development, and supporting economic recovery after COVID-19 through green jobs while increasing food security and improving human well-being. Besides the county government, other partners involved in the campaign to reclaim the highly degraded Maragoli Forest are the Community Forest Association (CFA), Equity Bank (Luanda Branch), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), National Environment Management Authority and
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
The high survival rate of the seedling has paved the way for the second phase of the campaign which will see another 30,000 indigenous seedlings planted to extend the land size to 50 acres. This is the first time efforts to reclaim the forest have returned positive results of seedlings surviving. In the past, agitated
locals uprooted the seedlings to express their anger.
In March this year, the county government and various
stakeholders decided to seek the views of locals as a
new approach in its attempt to rehabilitate the forest.
The county government is keen to attain over 10 percent
forest cover through the conservation of gazetted
and community forests in the county. On-farm forest
promotion is part of the strategy to attain the required
forest cover and it is through collective action that the
forest can be restored so as to enhance the ecosystem.
Maragoli Hills forest Ecosystem restoration is
fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development
Goals, main Ecosystem restoration is fundamental to
achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, mainly
those on climate change, poverty eradication, food
security, water, and biodiversity conservation.
It is also a pillar of international environmental
conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and the Rio Conventions on biodiversity, desertification, and climate change. ly those on climate change, poverty eradication, food security, and water and biodiversity conservation. Maragoli hills forest

Desertification and Drought Day 2022

Desertification and Drought Day will be commemorated on 17 June 2022 at Eldume Primary School, Baringo County. The theme for the event is “Rising up from drought together”.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is the global voice for land. We champion healthy, productive, and accessible land for all

Drought is one of the most destructive natural disasters in terms of the loss of life, arising from impacts, such as widescale crop failure, wildfires, and water stress exacerbated by land degradation and climate change

Due to INSATIABLE and UNSUSTAINABLE economic activities, over 300 million hectares of useful land globally could be lost by 2050 according to @UNCCD

As we commemorate Desertification & Drought Day, humanity must take URGENT ACTION and PROTECT LAND.

Baringo County will host this year’s Desertification and Drought Day. The County is prone to perennial droughts negatively impacting population’s livelihoods. The theme, “Rising up from drought together” seeks to empower Communities on how to prevent desertification and drought.

Drought is one of the most destructive natural disasters in terms of human life loss arising from crop failure and water stress exacerbated by land degradation and climate change. In Kenya, the drought continues to bite in 17 out of the 23 ASAL Counties.

Droughts have been part of human and natural systems, but what we are experiencing now is much worse, largely due to human activity. By 2050, it may affect ¾ of the world’s population. The day aims at raising awareness on how to counter drought & desertification.

Desertification and Drought Day will be marked on 17 June 2022. The national observance of the event will take place at Eldume Primary School, Baringo County. The theme for the event is “Rising up from drought together.”  NEMA is spearheading the national preparations

 

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.

Participants undertaking a clean-up at Mombasa Beach during World Cleanup Day commemorations

 

World Oceans Day is an annual event held every 8th of June. The day supports the implementation of worldwide Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fosters public interest in the protection of the ocean and the sustainable management of its resources in line with the United Nations resolution on World Oceans passed by UN
General Assembly in December 5, 2008, in Rio de
Janeiro. This year’s theme was “Revitalization: Collective
Action for the Ocean” The day aims at raising
awareness on the need to sustainably use the Oceans
and its resources.

In Kenya, the commemorations were held at Mombasa
Beach. The event included 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 Ocean Day commemorations By Carol Muriuki NEMA Staff undertaking a clean-up at Mombasa Beach during World Cleanup Day commemorations

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.

Greetings on World Wetlands Day 2 February

Greetings on World Wetlands Day 2 February

What is World Wetlands Day?

World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on 2 February to raise awareness about wetlands. This day also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in 1971.

A United Nations International Day

This year’s celebration of World Wetlands Day in 2022 is especially significant — as on 30 August 2021 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 75/317 that established 2 February as World Wetlands Day.

Why World Wetlands Day?

Nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests. Yet, wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies and more.

It is urgent that we raise national and global awareness about wetlands in order to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them.

World Wetlands Day is the ideal time to increase people’s understanding of these critically important ecosystems.

Theme World Wetlands Day 2022

Wetlands Action for People and Nature is the theme in 2022 highlighting the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health.

Who is behind World Wetlands Day?

The World Wetlands Day awareness campaign is organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands. Contracting Parties of the Convention on Wetlands have been celebrating World Wetlands Day since 1997, when it was first established.

Who can join?

World Wetlands Day is open to everyone — from international organizations, governments, wetland practitioners, to children, youth, media, community groups, decision-makers, to all individuals — as these ecosystems are important for us all.

#WorldWetlandsDay

#ActForWetlands

~Onjolo Kenya~

 

 

Conserving Ondiri Swamp

NEMA staff, Friends of Ondiri and NCIA during a tree planting exercise at Nyongare River, Kikuyu

World Wetlands Day national celebrations preparations are under way. The day shall be
marked on 22nd February 2022 under the global theme “Wetlands Action for People and Nature”.
This is a day dedicated to celebrating wetlands and disseminate wetlands knowledge. The theme recognizes
that wetland ecosystems are natural habitats supporting human livelihoods and biodiversity hence immediate
and appropriate actions are necessary to conserve and protect the wetlands.
NEMA has been involved in various actions geared towards protecting the integrity of wetlands in the
country, among them restoration activities, enforcement actions and policy guidance.
NEMA joined the National Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA) and Friends of Ondiri in planting
1000 tree seedlings long Nyongera river which is a tributary of Ondiri swamp on 14th October 2022.

The swamp forms the headwaters for Nairobi River which is a major source of water for Nairobi and
Kiambu Counties. This event complements the efforts to protect Nairobi River basin which has been ongoing
with support by Ministry of environment and other organizations. During the tree planting event, NEMA was represented by Mr. Katua, Deputy director CMF. He informed the participants that NEMA is focused to see that wetlands
in the country are conserved for posterity. He thanked NCIA for their support in tree planting and challenged
them to do more in future as the environment is a responsibility of all citizens.
Mr. Wambua, Communications Director NCIA mentioned that the 1000 seedlings support is part of
the organization’s CSR for this year. NCIA is committed to support environmental initiatives in future for the
benefit of humanity. They look forward to partnering with NEMA in more initiatives in the future.

World Habitat Day

CS James Macharia, EGH led this year’s national observance of WorldHabitatDay together with counterpart, CS Keriako Tobiko. This year’s theme: ‘Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-Free World’, fosters discussions aimed at addressing the effects of climate change on urban centers. The event took place at Olkaria Spa Naivasha.

World Habitat Day (WHD) is an international day observed on the first Monday of October every year.  This Day was designated by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 40/202A of 17 December 1985.

The Day accords United Nations Member States an opportunity to share and reflect on their experiences, successful initiatives, and challenges encountered in their efforts to provide shelter, and related basic services in a sustainable manner. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat. In addition, it provides a forum for governments and stakeholders to take stock of achievements and take actions aimed at improving housing and human settlements.

CS James Macharia and CS Tobiko planting trees at Olkaria Spa to mark World Habitat Day