The Government of Kenya and the County Government of Kajiado has identified disposal of solid waste for Kajiado County as a priority problem and has requested the Italian Government for assistance in financing the construction of a new sanitary landfill, under the proposed Integrated Waste Management Plan……Read More
Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu has challenged climate scientists to intensify research on climate change to improve early warning systems and mitigation measures for disasters.
Prof. Wakhungu observed that understanding clouds is essential for forecasting weather conditions, modeling the impacts of future climate change and predicting the availability of water resources.
She noted that clouds are central to weather observations and forecasts but one of the key uncertainties in the study of climate change. As a result of the significance of the condensed water vapor in the sky, there is need to understand better how clouds affect the climate and how a changing climate will affect the clouds as they play a critical role in the water cycle and in shaping the global distribution. The Cabinet Secretary said this during the World Meteorological Day celebrations held in Kitui County.
The theme of this year’s celebrations “Understanding Clouds” was selected to highlight the enormous importance of clouds for weather, climate and water resources.
The Cabinet Secretary said that Kenya Meteorological Department has established County Meteorological offices in all the 47 Counties that provide vital weather information to all the users within the local community. They have also helped Counties put in place mitigation measures which have been used to save lives, protect property and conserve the environment and aided in averting and reducing any weather related hazards.
Kenya’s economy is primarily depended on natural resources. Mt. Kenya forest which is one of the most critical natural resource and also the largest water catchment area in the country, is currently undergoing serious environmental degradation due to climate change and illegal human activities
This was said by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu when she opened a workshop to discuss private sector engagement with the government in the restoration of the Mt. Kenya ecosystem.
The CS pointed the importance of this forest in sustaining livelihoods, supporting food production, generating hydropower and providing freshwater for industrial and domestic use. She further noted that many companies rely on natural resources for running their businesses and should therefore join the Government in demonstrating their commitment in environmental restoration and management for a strong ecosystem.
Prof. Wakhungu said that many governments were facing budgetary constraints on public funding with Natural Resource Management initiatives receiving little attention. In an effort to rehabilitating Mt. Kenya ecosystem therefore, the CS said that Kenya Forest Service (KFS) was closely working with Community Forest Associations (CFAs) and Site Support Group to rehabilitate the degraded areas identified within the ecosystem.
CS revealed that under Plantation Establishment Livelihoods Improvement Scheme (PELIS) Programme, KFS through CFAs has planted 200,000 trees equivalent of 200 hectares in Gathiuru forest. She also added that Nature Kenya had also supplemented this effort by growing more than 11,000 indigenous tree seedlings at the same forest site, through the support of World Trust Land.
She thanked the East African Breweries Limited for the initiative to plant 100,000 trees and Vivo Energy through the ‘Lungs for Kenya initiative’ whose focus for 2017 was on Mt. Kenya restoration.
Present during the event were the Conservation Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Mr. Gideon Gathaara among others.
The cabinet secretary Prof. Judy Wakhungu has said that her Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is ready to work closely with County Governments on forest conservation, protection and management. “Counties should prioritize forestry development in their plans and budgets and set aside resources to facilitate the employment of forestry professionals and implementation of County forestry programmes’’ Cabinet secretary remarked.
Wakhungu said that the government of Kenya has made every effort to highlight and pronounce the importance of forests to Wananchi, which is also enshrined in chapter 5 of the constitution of Kenya, stipulating that the state will work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least 10% of total land area.
Cabinet secretary said this when she officiated the 2017 International Day of Forests in Ramisi primary school, Msambweni sub-County, Kwale County. The theme for this year is FOREST AND ENERGY. This theme goes hand in hand with the fact that wood is still the most important single source of renewable energy providing about 6% of the global total energy supply and 80% in the case of Kenya.
Wakhungu said that Kenya is an active participant in the United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) and has demonstrated commitments to processes of delivering the revised United Nations Forest instrument and the United Nation strategic plan for forests for the period 2017-2030. “It is also my duty to inform you that the Forest Act 2005 will soon be repealed while the assented forest and conservation management Act 2016 will soon be gazetted” said Judi.
CS congratulated Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Forest Research Institute and County Governments for their great efforts of developing the first National Forest Programme for Kenya, through financial and technical support from the Government at Finland. She thanked the government and the people of Finland for supporting Kenya’s national efforts of increasing forest cover, reversing degradation of forests and enhancing forest- based economic, social and environmental benefits.
While at the celebrations to mark the International Day of Forests, the Ministry through the State Department of Natural Resources, also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Gatsby Africa for supporting the development of commercial forestry.
The global celebration of forests provides a platform for raising awareness on the importance of all types of forests and trees outside forests. This date was specifically set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to allow member states to celebrate the importance of forests on global scale. This day’s celebration was achieved through the efforts of the United Nations Forum on Forests and Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO since 2012.
Nairobi March 14, 2017
Millions of East Africa Community residents around Lake Victoria stand to improve their livelihoods through projects touching on health, Environment and other Economic activities if they receive fresh funding from development partners.
A high level meeting of Principal and Permanent Secretaries from the five member countries alongside technical staff endorsed as successful most of the current projects being implemented by the Lake Victoria basin and expressed hope that new projects will be funded by development partners, among them the world Bank.
The high level meeting held at Entebbe, Uganda , under the umbrella of the Joint Regional Steering Committee of Lake Victoria Basin Commission confirmed that multiple projects being implemented in the East Africa Community under the Lake Victoria Environment Management Program (LVEMP 11) had gradually empowered the local population to become prosperous.
The World Bank funded LVEMP 11 in Kenya,Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burudi which is implementing Environment, Water Supply and Sanitation, Population, Health , Research, Pipeline programs among other Economic activities comes to an end in December 2017.
The Kenya delegation to the steering committee review meeting comprised three principal Secretaries whose team leader was Mr. Charles Sunkuli of Environment. Others were Dr. Margaret Mwakima of Natural Resources and Nancy Karigithu of Maritime affairs.
Permanent Secretaries Eng. Emmanuel Kalombela of Water and Irrigation in Tanzania, Simon Sindayihebura of water, Environment, Land and Urban Planning of Burundi, Fatina Mukarubibi of Natural Resources Rwanda and Alfred Okot Okidi of Water and Environment in Uganda joined their Kenyan counterpart in adopting and signing the projects evaluation reports under the custody of Lake Victoria Basin Commission. The reports were reviewed by respective technical officers from all the five member states.
The Commission Executive Secretary Dr. Ally Said Matano expressed confidence that funding for new projects will be successful following tangible results in the ending of LVEMP 11 and called for support from partner states to overcome challenges faced in some projects such as the Water Supply and Sanitation and the Multinational Lake Victoria Communication and Transport among others. “Support through commitment and endorsements will help in upscaling the projects “Dr. Matano told the delegates.
All the projects are aimed to transform Lake Victoria basin into a middle income region and allow residents to access basic human rights.
The 6th meeting of the Regional Policy Steering Committee was chaired by Mrs Amina Shabani the Deputy Secretary for Finance and Planning in the United Republic of Tanzania.
Kenya joined the world in commemorating the World Wildlife Day that was officiated by Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judy Wakhungu ON Friday 03rd March, 2017. The World Wildlife Day is observed globally every tear on 3rd March since 2014 following proclamation of the day by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2013.
Speaking at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, the CS appealed to Kenyans to combat illegal trade in wildlife, asking them to continue recognizing the intrinsic value of wildlife and the many economic and social benefits derived from the resource. “It is a pity that poaching and illegal trade in ivory continue to bog down not only in Kenya as a nation but the entire world,” said Wakhungu.
The CS noted that the increased human population has created a high demand for land thus exerting an incredible amount of pressure and threat to wildlife and other bio-diversity types in the country. “This is a great challenge that has currently caused human wildlife conflict where pastoral communities have invaded parks and private ranches in search of pasture and this has resulted to killing of animals,” she added.
Wakhungu said that Kenya amongst other countries in the world is ranked as the most committed nation with a well-structured wildlife conservation history composed of rich biodiversity. “As a nation and a people therefore, we have every reason to appreciate and celebrate our wildlife for the many benefits we derive from them,” the CS further said.
She announced that Kenya has over 50 protected areas across all ecosystems which ensures that diversity of wildlife and its beauty is preserved for present and future generations and called for more involvement of communities in the conservation and management of wildlife both in terrestrial and marine ecosystem.
Principal Secretary State Department of Natural Resources Dr. Margaret Mwakima who also attended the event said that this year’s theme ‘Listen to the Young Voices’ echoes the call from cites cop 17 on adoption of resolution, conf. 17/5 for states to engage and empower the youth in wildlife conservation issues and to also inspire young people to actively participate in wildlife conservation efforts.
Dr. Mwakima reiterated that efforts are being made in raising awareness to varied benefits of wildlife and the importance of sustainable management and illegal trafficking of endangered species among African elephants, the Rhino and the African pangolins Rosewoods among others.
The PS acknowledged the observance of 2017 World Wildlife Day, saying it fosters the involvement of Kenyan youth for wildlife conservation and establishment of youth movement.
The event was also attended by among others by Kenya Wildlife Service Director Kitili Mbathi and Nakuru Deputy Governor Joseph Ruto.
Kenya has initiated the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down production and consumption of hydroflurocarbons that serve as alternatives to ozone depleting substances, Environment Principal Secretary Mr. Charles Sunkuli has said.
He said that a joint enforcement team comprising of the Environment Ministry, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Kenya Revenue Authority was working to ensure that substances that deplete the ozone layer were not imported into the country.
The PS noted the Ministry would strengthen its capacity to monitor and restrict the entry of Ozone depleting substances (ODS) into the country through regular evaluation meetings with the relevant government agencies and in line with the October 2016, Kigali Amendment of the Montreal protocol.
Mr. Sunkuli was speaking this morning when he received officials from the German International Agency (GIZ) PROKLIMA, project who paid a courtesy call on him to update on the progress of the Kigali Amendment. The project deals with climate change, environment and infrastructure whose manager Philipp Denzinger led the delegation.
The ozone layer is the Earth’s natural sunscreen, filtering out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays can cause damage to humans and other forms of life.
Although the ozone layer is high up in the atmosphere, chemical substances used at the surface of the planet can damage it. If the ozone layer is damaged, UV rays can get through and cause damage to humans and other forms of life. It is therefore necessary to protect the ozone layer chemicals.
According to the United States Environment protection Agency (epa), one of the chemicals used that damages the ozone layer is a refrigerant gas known as R22.
This gas (a hydrochlorofluorocarbon or HCFC) was one of the last remaining ozone depleting substances that is in common use. However, the use of R22 for service and maintenance is now banned according to epa.
However the ODS have been gradually replaced by Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) that do not deplete the ozone but are a significant global warmer and have a negative impact on climate.
Further the epa says the Montreal Protocol is considered to be the most successful global environmental agreement setting out commitments by every country in the world to eliminate production and use of the chemicals that damage the ozone layer.
The PS was accompanied by the National Coordinator of the Ozone unit in the Ministry Mr. Kirui Maridany among other officials.
The government has put interventions in place to mitigate climate change and its effects in the country. This has been done by enacting the Climate Change Act, 2016 making Kenya one of the few countries in the world to enact a climate change law. Efforts to increase the forest cover are a notch higher having increased from 6.9% in 2013 to 7.24%. Towards this end, KEFRI has been undertaking research to identify the best indigenous tree species to be planted in arid and semi arid lands.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu said this during an interview with KTN in her office. She explained that water harvesting is also being encouraged for irrigation use and to avert drought and hunger. Moreover, an early warning system is in place to provide automatic weather updates in various regions across the country.
Wakhungu emphasized that the Ministry will continue raising awareness on climate change in all sectors to secure the environment for the future. ‘We are responsible for our environment and we must secure it for the future’, we must do this by planting trees and not littering’, said she. Environmental issues will also be mainstreamed in the education curriculum up to tertiary level to educate Kenyans on the importance of respecting and conserving the environment. The Ministry is also providing standards on emissions to manufacturers to reduce their pollution footprint on the environment.
On biodiversity, Prof. Wakhungu said that the country was working hard to ensure that 10% of all land is earmarked as protected areas (national parks, marine parks and reserves etc). She added that people with large tracks of land are being encouraged to conserve wildlife to weather the effects of climate change and also use it as an opportunity to generate revenue and improve their livelihoods.
Air quality scientists met in Naivasha to strategize on how to reduce air pollution in the country.
Air is a public good and polluting it is equivalent to dumping in the atmosphere. Pollution has no boundaries. Kenya, like most places in the world faces a lot of environmental challenges, some of which are man-made and others climate change related. All these have increased poor health and reduced the quality of life.
Over 5million Kenyans living in major cities and towns are directly exposed to toxic emissions mainly from motor vehicles, industries, use of traditional fuels and kerosene used for cooking and heating. Indiscriminate burning of solid waste also causes air pollution.
Air pollution causes death and increased illnesses such as respiratory ailments, heart conditions, brain damage and cancers. It is estimated that 14,300 Kenyans die annually due to conditions attributed to air pollution. Pollution also affects plants and agricultural yields.
The quality of human life is closely associated with the ecosystem in which they live. Air pollutants adversely affect the air we breathe in. In fact the air we breathe in the cities is poisoned. The problem with air pollution is that it cannot be bought like purified water and we can therefore not escape from it.
‘In several cities around the world, people have to wear breathing masks to protect themselves from pollution. Masks have become part of their wardrobes. We do not want this country to go down that road. We want to make sure every breathe we take matters’, said Charles Sunkuli, Principal Secretary for Environment when he opened the workshop on air quality management and coordination.
To address emissions from the transport sector in a more targeted manner, the PS said the Ministry is in the process of forming an Inter- Ministerial Task force on Testing and Licensing of Emissions in the sector. The goal of the task force will be to work on modalities and procedures for emission testing for land, air, and sea based transport.
The PS recognized the work being done by International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which addresses pollution from maritime vessels. He added that the Ministry will encourage such cost effective ventures in addressing air pollution issues. The PS also acknowledged the work being done by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization to address emissions from the aviation industry adding that the Ministry will complement those efforts with domestic regulations.
‘Our goal is to ensure compliance with the current legislation on sources of pollution in industries and traffic as well as strengthen effective enforcement’, said Sunkuli. ‘This will be done by developing accurate emission inventories and the Ministry will also encourage technologies and measures to further reduce the exposure of citizens and ecosystems to air pollution.
The PS reiterated the government’s commitment to reduce air pollution levels in the country adding that a National Air Quality Management and Coordination Strategy will be developed to address this.
Participants were drawn from government entities, development partners, private sector, research institutions and NGOs.
Land Degradation which is driven by harsh ecological conditions and unsustainable land management practices, is a threat to food security and sustainable development, and continues to threaten livelihoods countrywide, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Environment, Mr. Charles Sunkuli has said.
Speaking when he opened an inception workshop to set Kenya’s targets for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) at a Nairobi hotel, Mr. Sunkuli observed that, during the 12th Conference of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, (UNCCD) held in Ankara, Turkey, in 2015, landmark decisions were agreed, among them, countries were requested to set voluntary targets for the implementation of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).
Land Degradation Neutrality calls for securing enough healthy and productive natural resources by avoiding degradation whenever possible, and restoring land that has already been degraded. At the core, are better management practices, and better land use planning that will improve economic, social and ecological sustainability for present and future generations.
Noting that 80% of Kenya is arid and semi arid, Mr. Sunkuli informed the participants that, Kenya had prioritized the issue of halting land degradation across sectors, in order to enhance the attainment of food security through sustainable land management practices, water harvesting and land based initiatives.
The Principal Secretary for Environment Mr. Charles Sunkuli led a strong country delegation to the just concluded Lake Victoria Environmental Research and Scientific conference (LVBNCON 2017) held in Mwanza, in the United Democratic Republic of Tanzania.
The Kenya delegation that included the Principal Secretary for Natural Resources Dr. Margaret Mwakima had a visible presence in the exhibitions, portraying conservation efforts spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources through the Lake Victoria Environment Management Program II-Kenya (LVEMP-II K).
Mr. Sunkuli represented the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu in the conference that was opened by Tanzania’s vice president, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan and was attended by delegates from the five East Africa Community Countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The PS signed on behalf of Kenya, the conference resolutions that were also confirmed by other executives who represented their respective governments.
Alongside the exhibitions depicting each countries effort to conserve Lake Victoria, scientists from across disciplines in the region shared experiences relating to the management and use of the trans-boundary resources.
The objective of the two day conference was to share experiences and lessons learnt from implementing LVEMP to inform policy development and partnerships within Lake Victoria basin alongside gathering data, information and knowledge that will inform the design of the next face of the program.
Member countries were unanimous in resolutions centered on the focus to achieve a prosperous population living in a healthy and sustainably managed environment of the lake basin, providing equitable opportunities and benefits.
Mr. Sunkuli, while attending a side event organized by the Kenyan delegation pointed out that Kenya had contributed immensely to conservation of Lake Victoria through projects that centered on sustainable water resources utilization, pollution control and promotion of community driven development.
Among the thematic scientific presentations were; sustainable watershed management, socio-economic and governance issues in relation to natural resources management, pollution control and prevention, fisheries resource management and aquaculture development and the future of sustainable development under climate change.
The conference was closed by the chairman of sectoral council of ministers of lake Victoria basin Eng. Gerson Lwenge who is also Tanzania’s minister for water and Irrigation.
The state is obligated to work to achieve and maintain a tree cover of at least 10% of the land area of Kenya, Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment and Natural Resources Professor Judi Wakhungu has said. The forest cover is currently at 7.4% up from 6.99% in 2010. The CS said this during the 10th anniversary of Kenya Forest Service (KFS), held at Karura, on 10th February 2017.
Prof. Wakhungu said the government was committed to the restoration of 5.1 million hectares of degraded forest lands as part of the nationally determined contribution to the Bonn challenge under the 2015 Paris agreement.
“To achieve this target KFS had comprehensively mapped out all degraded sites for the Bonn challenge, making the country the first one in Africa to conduct such a massive exercise” Wakhungu added.
She acknowledged that as the Country aspires to be an industrialized and middle level income country by 2030, environmental conservation and management will continue to be integrated in the overall economic development framework as a precondition for ensuring the right of every Kenyan to a clean environment is achieved and sustained.
She also pointed out that Kenya is recognized as an agricultural based country whose products such as tea is based on suitable micro-climatic conditions that are regulated by the forests and the fuel wood utilized to cure the green leaves resulting in an internationally recognized high quality brand.
The ceremony was also attended by the Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Her Excellency Tarji Fernandez, past and present chairs of the KFS board, the Directors of KFS and Kenya Forestry Research Institute Mr. Emilio Mugo and Dr. Ben Chikamai respectively among other guests.