Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Mr. Keriako Tobiko, has said land degradation and climate change arising from human activities have adversely affected natural resources leading to desertification, and called on Kenyans to ensure proper land management and environmental conservation in a bid to reduce poverty and extreme hunger.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Mohamed Elmi, during the celebrations to mark the 2019 World Day to Combat Desertification in Makindu, Makueni ounty, the CS said that, the ministry will come up with a program on restoration and afforestation, where they will work closely with the counties to increase the country’s forest cover by 10% by 2022.
Mr. Tobiko decried the low forest cover in Makueni county, which he attributed to cutting down of trees for charcoal production ,while sand harvesting has led to degradation of river beds and drying up of rivers. The CS said local communities should build resilience against current multi-fold development challenges through sustainable land management practices to avert desertification, and urged Kenyans to undertake tree planting activities at institutional and household level; rehabilitate water towers and wetlands.
Makueni Governor H.E. Hon. Kivutha Kibwana said cutting down of trees for firewood and charcoal and land degradation are accelerating desertification.
The Governor vouched for the enforcement of the climate change Act to address the emerging environmental issues and mitigate desertification.
The WDCD is observed on 17th June each year as required under the United Nations Convection to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which Kenya signed in 1994 and ratified in 1997.
Kenya has observed this day since 1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification, land degradation and mitigate effects of drought. The global event was marked in Ankara, Turkey.