Dancers entertaining the guests [PHOTO: MARY AMONDO/NEMA]
World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) 2016 advocates for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded and contribute towards achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is an annual event celebrated every June 17th.
This year, Pap Sori, Karungu township in Migori County played host to WDCD where the message was, ‘leave no one behind’ as proclaimed in the new Sustainable Development Goals, achieving land degradation neutrality needs to be in the forefront to meet our requirements and develop sustainability.The theme for this year’s event was ‘Inclusive cooperation for achieving land degradation neutrality’ and the domesticated slogan was “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People”
The chief guest was the cabinet Secretary, ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Prof Judi Wakhungu who was accompanied by her two PS, Dr. Margaret Mwakima, PS state department of Natural Resources and Mr. Charles Sunkuli, PS state department of Environment.
In her remarks, Prof Wakhungu gave an overview of state of desertification and land degradation world over. She stated, “dry lands account for 40 percent of the earth’s surface out of which over two-thirds of the planet’s surface is affected by desertification. Desertification affects over 2 billion people out of 7.4 billion of the global population and affects around 100 countries across the 5 continents.Alluding to the theme, Prof Wakhungu called for inclusive cooperation among all actors as key for making Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) one of the fundamental solutions to contribute to achieving objectives of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She also expressed her gratitude to all those who have played their rightful part in the general improvement of the environment in one way or another while at the same time calling upon Kenyans to enhance efforts towards combating desertification.PS state department of Environment, Mr. Charles Sunkuli stated that the Ministry is playing a leading role in the protection and conservation of the environment, restoration of degraded ecosystems, and management of natural resources for sustainable development.
He added that there was need to develop innovative approaches to Sustainable Land Management (SLM) where resource conservation and land rehabilitation can be combined to create employment and improve livelihoods across the country. To fast track this, the Ministry has initiated a number of programmes, such as, restoration of the five water towers which in recent years has experienced massive encroachment, deforestation and degradation.
PS state department of Natural Resources, Dr. Margaret Mwakima postulated that land degradation needed a concerted effort to manage its effects. She argued that when everyone will be brought on board, it will be possible for adopt best practices that contribute to land degradation and desertification.NEMA board of management chairman remarks were made by Dr. Susan Mwamlole who outlined some of the milestones NEMA has made such as preparation of National Environment Action Plans (NEAPs), and District Environment Action Plans (DEAPs) which serve as policy framework for mainstreaming environmental planning and management. “We have also prepared the State of Environment (SoE) Reports for Kenya and selected Counties with outstanding environmental challenges. In the area of development control and management, the Authority has made use of the Environment Impact Assessment and Environmental Audit (EIA/EA) a basic requirement for infrastructural development and investors which has assisted in the protection and conservation of critical ecosystems as well as protection of human health,” the Board chair stated.To ensure sustainable utilization of our resources, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) coordinates implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements including UNCCD in collaboration with Lead Agencies.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources is the Focal Point of the Convention, NEMA Director General, Prof Geoffrey Wahungu stated. The Director General pledged the support of the Authority to continue supporting initiatives to combat desertification and promote sustainable land management practices in Kenya.
The County also called for the ministry and NEMA to work together to address land degradation and desertification in the County. More specifically, they requested for the government to come up with an initiative to engineer water from Lake Victoria to benefit the residents.
VIPs present in a procession to the venue [PHOTO: ANTHONY NGARE/NEMA]
Source: NEMA Ecoflash