Monday, February 19, 2018
 CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu opening the MESA Forum at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Nbi.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu opening the MESA Forum at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Nbi.

The first ever Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) meeting opened in Nairobi attracting delegates from all over the world.

The Environment cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu opened the five day conference with a call to extend the initiative to many countries in Africa in a bid to further research and innovation towards safeguarding the environment.

The monitoring initiative is aimed at increasing information for decision making and planning capacity for Institutions in the continent mandated for environment, climate, and food security by enhancing access of Earth observation applications.

Prof  Wakhungu disclosed that the Kenya Wildlife service and the Kenya forests were among the institutions in her ministry that were now using snapshot satellite images to access protected areas in a single page.

The CS expressed confidence that continued use of freely available satellite information for natural habitat conservation assessment would help turn around hitherto widespread poaching and deforestation.

A cross section of diginitarie following the CS address during the MESA Forum at the Crowne Plaza hotel

A cross section of diginitaries following the CS address during the MESA Forum at the Crowne Plaza hotel

She noted that her Ministry whose vision was a clean, healthy, safe and sustainably managed environment and natural resources would be achieved through partnerships of development partners such the African Union in which this monitoring initiative was under.

The workshop was attended by the executive secretary of the Inter government Authority (IGAD) Amb. Mahboub Maalim, Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture I Africa Union Commissioner, Mrs Ann Burylo, head of cooperation in the European Union delegation to the Africa Union and Jean-Claude de I Estrac, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission.

A memorable group photo with the secretariat of the MESA Forum with the Cabinet Secretary.

A memorable group photo with the secretariat of the MESA Forum with the Cabinet Secretary.

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elninoThere is a greater than 90% chance that the evolving El Niño will continue through to the “Short Rains” (Oct-Nov-Dec) season and around an 80% chance it will last in to early 2016.

1.                       What is El-Niño

The term El Niño, (Spanish word for “the Christ-child” or “the boy-child”), refers to the periodic building up of a large pool of unusually warm waters in large parts of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Ecuado and Peru in South America. Thus, El Niño is a phenomenon that periodically occurs in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean region.

  1. Typical World-wide Consequences of El-Niño

It has been observed that during periods of El-Niño, there is a disruption in the global weather patterns in the tropics including Kenya and world-wide extremes in weather and climate such as droughts, floods, cold/hot spells, and tropical cyclones, among others, are common, even in some regions that are very far away from the Pacific Ocean basin.  Such severe weather and extreme climate episodes are often associated with far reaching socio-economic impacts including loss of life, destruction of property; mass migration of communities and animals; lack of water, energy, food and other basic needs of human kind. Consequently, El-Niño phenomenon has received a lot of attention at global, regional and local levels over the last few years.

  1. Typical Impacts of El-Niño in Kenya

The impact of El-Nino in Kenya is not uniform. The large variability of El-Niño-related impacts in space and time in Kenya are due to the complex nature of the topography and the existence of the large inland water bodies. The physical features and the neighbouring Oceans (Indian and the Atlantic) play significant roles in modifying the large scale circulation patterns, and thus also modify El Niño–related anomalies in the country. Thus, El Niño impacts vary not only from location to location and from season to season, but also from one El Niño event to another.

In Kenya, rainfall is a very important climate element because many socio-economic activities heavily depend on this weather element.  Enhanced rainfall tends to occur in Kenya during the “Short Rains” Season (October to December) of the year of onset of an El Niño. On the other hand, rainfall tends to be suppressed during the June to September period in the western parts of the country. The significant rainfall in October to December tends to extend into the usually dry months of January and even February of the following year.  However, as pointed out in the paragraph above, not all El-Niño events result in the described rainfall patterns over the country. It must be reiterated that other predictors such as the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies (SSTa) over the neighboring Ocean Basins (Indian and Atlantic) modify some of these patterns on occasions.

Note: In the minds of many Kenyans, a mention of El-Nino occurrence reflects back to the 1997/98 kind of rainfall patterns in October-November-December period. However, it is also important to take note that not all El-Ninos result in what was experienced in 1997/98 in terms of heavy rainfall in the country. Subsequent to 1997/98, there were other El-Nino events in 2002/03, 2006/07 and 2009/10. To ordinary people, these went unnoticed because their impacts were not as that of 1997/98 El-Nino because of other factors.

 

  1. Status of the Current Evolving El-Niño

 

The current projections from Global models are for a a greater than 90% chance that the current El Niño conditions will persist through to the “Short Rains” (Oct-Nov-Dec) season and about 80% chance it will extend to the early parts of 2016.

 

Preliminary predictions are pointing towards a reasonable probability of enhanced rainfall over much of the country during the “Short Rains” (October-December) season in Kenya. However, the Department is finalizing the forecast / outlook for the 2015 “Short Rains” season that will be officially issued on 1st September 2015. This forecast / outlook will show a clear picture as to how El-Nino event and other factors will influence the rainfall patterns to be experienced during the “Short Rains” (Oct-Nov-Dec) period.

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CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu joins the Deputy President, Hon. William Ruto and other diginitaries for a group photo after the official openin of the Data Forum.

The use of data in decision making and resource use, will be the defining aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda, as data is essential for smart and transparent policy making, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, Prof. Judi Wakhungu has said.

Prof. Wakhungu made the remarks when she Spoke during the National Forum on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development at the Laico Regency Hotel, that was officially opened by the Deputy President, H.E. Hon. William Ruto, and whose purpose was to launch a national partnership on sustainable development data, comprising of private sector, not-for-profit organizations, foundations, academia, innovators and government agencies.

Prof. Wakhungu noted that, holding of the  first ever National Forum on Harnessing the Data Revolution on Sustainable Development,  whose theme “Transforming through Evidence”, recognizes that, the current development challenges facing the country requires timely, accessible and accurate data to support the informational aspects of decision making, sets Kenya as a leader both on the African Continent and globally, in recognizing the potential of the Data Revolution and seeking to harness it to propel sustainable development and economic growth.

The forum was also attended by Kakamega Governor, Hon. Wycliffe Oparanya among other dignitaries.

Prof. Wakhungu and DP, Hon. William Ruto following proceedings during the Data Forum.
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 CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu unveiling the plague to  officially open the sewerage facility at Kisat0308

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu unveiling the plague to officially open the sewerage facility at Kisat0308

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu has noted that, Kisumu, being the  third largest city in Kenya, with an approximate population of 500,000, has tremendously grown over time necessitating the need for the expansion of its sewerage facilities.

Speaking when she commissioned the Kisumu Sewerage System at Kisat, Prof. Wakhungu noted that, the expansion of the facility, which has been undertaken at the cost of Kshs. 146,422,320.00 which is not a small investment will help in reducing the pollution load onto Lake Victoria. She called on the County Government of Kisumu and the public to  appreciate this gesture and  ensure that the facility is utilized to full capacity.

The CS, addressing wananchi  during the launch of the  Kisumu sewerage facility._0322

The CS, addressing wananchi during the launch of the Kisumu sewerage facility._0322

The occasion was also attended by the Kisumu County Minister for Environment and other senior National and County government officials.

 

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CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, flanked by HomaBay governor, Hon. Cyprian Awiti and his deputy commissioning the Homa Bay sewer._0231

The Cabinet Secretary , Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has noted that, an improved sewer system will reduce pollution load into Lake Victoria, which is one of the factors that contribute to the infestation of the Lake Victoria with water hyacinth.

Speaking in Homa Bay town when she commissioned the ksh. 215 million shillings sewerage treatment facility, Prof. Wakhungu noted that, the completion of the facility will significantly contribute to improving the Lake’s eco-system, especially reduced water pollution which will also diminish the associated water borne diseases and improve the sanitation of the town.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu exchanging the hand over documents with governor Awiti as the deputy governor looks on.0273

Prof. Wakhungu  noted that, the  County Government of Homa Bay and the public it serves, will appreciate this gesture from the National Government and Development Partners by ensuring that this facility is fully utilized and  not run down again.

The function was attended by the Governor, Hon.  Cyprian Awiti and his deputy, among other senior National and County government officials.

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Ms. Maria Threase (left)Environment CS Prof. Wakhungu (Center) & US Ambassador to Kenya to Kenya Robert Godec at the National Validation workshop

Ms. Maria Threase (left)Environment CS Prof. Wakhungu (Center) & US Ambassador to Kenya to Kenya Robert Godec at the National Validation workshop

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities Prof. Judi Wakhungu was among other high ranking government officials who attended the National Validation Workshop on the Draft Climate Finance Policy and Climate Change Budget Code at the KICC.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury and Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Industrialization, United States Ambassador Robert Godec, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) country Director MS. Maria Keating among others.

Speaking during the workshop the Cabinet Secretary for Environment noted that the workshop was timely as it had taken place just three months before the world converges in Paris to come up with a new UN climate change deal and underscore the important role climate finance plays in realizing sustainable economic growth and development.

“As a country, we have a challenge of mobilizing adequate resources to mitigate impacts of climate change.” The CS also noted.

Dr Harun Warui  of LECRD consult with Dr Charles Mutai of Climate Change Secretariat at the workshop

Dr Harun Warui of LECRD consult with Dr Charles Mutai of Climate Change Secretariat at the workshop

The Policy seeks to further Kenya’s national development agenda through enhanced mobilisation of climate finance that contributes to low carbon climate resilient development pathway.

The workshop’s main aim was defining climate change activities as well as coding funds used in climate change in order to help in tracking such funds in national budgetary systems.

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CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu is all smiles as she unveils the plague to commission the Bomet sewerage plant

The Cabinet Nike Shox Oz Womens Black Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Parajumpers Blazer Jacket Regional Authorities, Prof. Judi Wakhungu has reminded leaders that, it is their responsibility and obligation to achieve the  target of Kenya’s economic blue print that calls for a clean, secure and a sustainable environment.

The Cabinet Secretary made the Golden Goose Courir remarks when she Billiga Canada Goose Jackor Barn commissioned and handed over the Ksh. 135Million Bomet Sewerage Treatment Facility to the County Adidas Eqt Size 10 Government of Bomet, during a function that was attended by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Stephen Mutai, the Country Commissioner Mr. Lepararamai and the Senior Director of Administration in the Ministry Amb. Julius Kandie among others.

Prof. Wakhungu with other senior officials inspecting the newly constructed Bomet sewerage plant
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CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu holding talks with Samburu County first Lady in her office as PS, Dr. Lesiyampe and an aide to the first lady listen keenly.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu holding talks with Samburu County first Lady in her office as PS, Dr. Lesiyampe and an aide to the first lady listen keenly.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources will partner with other stakeholders in the environment sector to plant trees in the vast region of Samburu, in an effort to conserve its fragile environment, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu has said.

Speaking in her NHIF office when she received the Samburu County first Lady, Prof. Wakhungu noted that, the Green Schools Programme, which has already been spread to over 58 Schools countrywide will be extended to Samburu County. Noting that the Programme has a water component in it, the Cabinet Secretary observed that the initiative will go a long way in assisting the girl child to concentrate on learning.

 CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu in Samburu regalia receiving the Samburu County first Lady in her office as the Principal Secretary, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe and an aide to the first lady look on.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu in Samburu regalia receiving the Samburu County first Lady in her office as the Principal Secretary, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe and an aide to the first lady look on.

The Samburu first lady, who is also the patron of Miss Tourism, Samburu, noted that, her initiative has been encouraging girls to stay in School instead of indulging into early family life.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe attended.

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 CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu addressing  senior  officers of her Ministry during the launch of the 2013-2017 strategic plan  at the Great Rift Valley Lodge, Naivasha

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu addressing senior officers of her Ministry during the launch of the 2013-2017 strategic plan at the Great Rift Valley Lodge, Naivasha

The Ministry of Environment has officially launched its strategic plan for the period 2013-2017 in a ceremony presided over by the Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu during a ministry’s retreat held in Naivasha.

Speaking during the launch that included the Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe, the Cabinet secretary noted that though it had taken long to launch the document she was excited that finally she was able to officially operationalize it as the official working document for the Ministry.

The occasion which was also used as a team building workshop for senior management also saw the coming on board of Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) for Regional Development Authorities formerly domiciled at the State Department of Water that is now the Ministry of Water Irrigation.

“Of special mention are the leaders of Regional Authorities who have recently joined us in the Ministry from your previous docket of Water and Irrigation.”  The CS noted.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu joiins in a memorable group  photo with heads of institutions in her Ministry after launching l the  strategic plan

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu joiins in a memorable group photo with heads of institutions in her Ministry after launching l the strategic plan

The CS also observed that the Strategic Plan was aimed at providing a roadmap to the Ministry in delivering its mandate. It also provides detail of programmes and projects that will be implemented to the social pillar of Kenya’s vision 2030.

The CS also observed that the broadening of the Ministry will give it synergy through the team spirit and enable it achieves on its goals and targets as stipulated in the performance contract.

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 CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu with senior officials  of her Ministry during  the leadership meeting held at the Great Rift  Valley Lodge, Naivasha

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu with senior officials of her Ministry during the leadership meeting held at the Great Rift Valley Lodge, Naivasha

Environment Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu has challenged Semi Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGA’s) under her Ministry to increasingly share information of their dockets to satisfy the curious public that was hungry for information.

The CS urged the SAGA’s to diversify from the traditional media and step up the use of social media to convey the numerous activities they are engaged to the public as part of their service delivery. She noted that many Kenyans were now media savvy and preferred to use social media for ease of access.

Prof. Wakhungu noted that the Environment Sector was critical to development in the country adding that by sharing information regarding its many activities the Ministry would stamp its authority and be ranked highly among better performers.

Heads of Regional Development Authorities join the CS  for a group  photo during the leadership meeting at the Great Rift Valley  Lodge.

Heads of Regional Development Authorities join the CS for a group photo during the leadership meeting at the Great Rift Valley Lodge.

The CS was speaking in Naivasha during a leadership and team building workshop for senior  management staff and the SAGA’s chief Executive Officers where she emphasized the need for collaboration between the institutions under her new Ministry renamed Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Authorities.

She told the meeting that was also attended by the Principal Secretary Dr. Richard Lesiyampe that her Ministry had performed well through its vision to provide a clean, healthy, safe and sustainably managed Environment and Natural Resources.

Prof. Wakhungu cited the areas of Waste management, wildlife and climate change as some of the outstanding areas that had earned her Ministry International accolades.

During the meeting the CS received an ISO 9001: 2008 that the Ministry received earlier in the year from the International certifying body SGS and commended all departments for working together to deliver results to Kenyans.

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CS Judi Wakhungu arrives at the African Union (AUC-IBAR) conference hall to launch the regional workshop on commercial gums and gum resins

CS Judi Wakhungu arrives at the African Union (AUC-IBAR) conference hall to launch the regional workshop on commercial gums and gum resins

Africa produces 95% of the world gum Arabica requirement which contributes to improved livelihoods, economies and climate change adaptation and mitigation CS for Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu has said.

The CS noted that commercial gums and resins production were among dry land commodities in Africa that provided food, medicine and cash income enhancing food security and alleviating poverty.

Prof Wakhungu noted that Gum Arabic is the third income earner for Chad while Senegal is a key player in the production and export of gum karaya.

Ethiopia Kenya and Somalia are principal producers and exporters of gum resins (Frankincense, Myrrh and Opoponax) she observed adding that Kenya exported 3000 metric tons gum resins valued at ksh. 850 million).

The CS was speaking when she opened a regional workshop on Improving the Production and Marketing of Commercial Gums and Gum Resins at the African Union (AU-IBAR) in Nairobi. It focused on enhancing Livelihoods and Climate Change Resilience in the Dry lands of Africa.     

 CS Judi Wakhungu listens during presentations during the workshop.

CS Judi Wakhungu listens during presentations during the workshop.

Prof Wakhungu said that Women play an important role in the sector particularly through post-harvest handling practices of cleaning, grading and packaging.

She said that empowered women translated to empowered families and societies adding that “Women therefore needed to be recognized and fully incorporated in the development agenda of member countries”.

 As regards to economies, Sub-Saharan Africa is a key player in the international trade of commercial gums and resins.

She added that, the Acacia, Boswellia, Commiphorra and sterculia resources are not only important in producing commodities but also in stabilizing the climate through sequestering huge amounts of Carbon.

Further Prof. Wakhungu said they also provide important environmental services like stabilizing soil erosion by water and wind thereby combating desertification, improving soils, and providing fodder for livestock and acts as sources of wood fuel.

She noted that, despite the importance of these commodities and resources, the sector is yet to be developed properly to exploit the enormous opportunities. This she noted was because the resources were facing further threats from clearing for agricultural expansion or conversion to fuel wood and charcoal, activities that are posing environmental degradation and exacerbating climate change.

The Network for Natural Gums and Resins in Africa (NGARA) was established in 2000 with the goal of assisting African Producer Countries and partners formulate a coordinated strategy for sustainable development while enhancing environmental conservation.

“It is gratifying to note that since its establishment, communication among member countries has been enhanced with increased collaboration between English and French speaking countries” she added.

Prof. Wakhungu said the government supported the development of dry lands in the country as attested from the vision 2013, the policy on the ASALs and Forest Act 2005, which is under review.

The participants for the three day workshop were drawn from 16 countries in Africa.

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The Government has made significant gains in the fight against poaching with incidences reducing by over 40 percent Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu has said.

Following increased surveillance on illegal trafficking, more wildlife trophies have been seized for the first time in Kenyan ports than in Asia, the CS observed, adding that global collaboration would further reduce poaching of endangered species.

 Prof Wakhungu was speaking when she presented 10 motorcycles to boost the war on poaching by Kenya Wildlife Service and private conservancies following a donation from the People’s Republic of China.

Said the CS ‘’ these motorcycles will improve patrolling of wildlife areas as well as cut down on response time to poaching attempts’’.

The patrol motorbikes donated through East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) and Mara Conservancy Fund (MCF) will be shared among KWS-5, Mau Forest Conservancy-2, Ol Kinyei-2 and Naboisho Conservancy 1.They will boost patrols in Narok County, especially community wildlife conservancy in the Mara.

Prof. Wakhungu lauded increased collaboration between Kenya and China that will help reduce illegal wildlife trade by curtailing the supply and demand sides of the market adding that the donation will also help sustain employment for many Kenyans who depend directly on tourism sector.

The CS observed that the Government enhanced collaboration with Wildlife dependent communities and other conservation stakeholders by supporting the creation of Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Association (KWCA) that brought together all conservancies in the country. This will enable them articulate and coordinate their activities and the Kenya Conservation Alliance (KCA) that brings together all NGO’s working in the Wildlife sector. It will further strengthen the wildlife industry governance.

The donation Prof Wakhungu noted would further cement the Sino – Kenya relations in anti – poaching and conservation.

CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu admires a motorbike at the East African Wildlife Society during the handing over of the 14 motor cycles donated to fight poaching. Looking on is the KWS Ag. Director General William Kiprono.

CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu admires a motorbike at the East African Wildlife Society during the handing over of the 14 motor cycles donated to fight poaching. Looking on is the KWS Ag. Director General William Kiprono.

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Climate Scientists meet to release weather forecast for the next rainfall season.

13th February, 2018 Local and international scientists and users of climate information congregated in Mombasa under the 48th Greater Horn […]

PRESS RELEASE

Increased likelihood of near to enhanced rainfall over much of the  Greater Horn of Africa, regional climate outlook indicates 13thFebruary 2018, […]

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