Monday, July 23, 2018
Inside one of the cottages where oil lamps for lighting are used instead of electricity

Inside one of the cottages where oil lamps for lighting are used instead of electricity

Biodiversity plays a key role in promoting tourism in Kenya. The tourism sector generates a lot of revenue to the Kenyan government and for biodiversity to be maintained or increased, tourism revenue has to be well managed.

Kenya will be joining the international community to celebrate the International Day for Biodiversity on Monday 22nd May, 2017. This year’s theme is ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism’. The theme was chosen to coincide with the observance of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

A sign post to the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy on the Naivasha-Nakuru road

A sign post to the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy on the Naivasha-Nakuru road

It recognizes the importance of sustainable tourism and how it helps achieve both economic growth and sustainable use of biodiversity. The UN established and uses the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness on biodiversity issues.

The contribution of tourism to conservation is increasingly recognized by the international community. The convention on Biodiversity provided for guidelines on biodiversity and tourism development to combine biodiversity conservation with sustainable tourism development. Biodiversity underpins human development by impacting natural processes, thereby affecting human life in different ways.

In Kenya, there are some parks and conservancies that practice sustainable tourism as well as conserve their biodiversity. For example, the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy located near Gilgil town in the Great Rift Valley. The local community owns and operates it. It started in 1997 with the aim of providing a wildlife sanctuary and a sustainable eco-tourism destination. Some of the practices carried out that promote sustainability are; the cottages used for accommodation at Kigio are made using local and reclaimed materials, furniture is built from timber that has been reclaimed from the ground, oil lamps are used instead of electricity.

One of the cottages that is used for accommodation at the conservancy made of locally reclaimed materials and its furniture made from reclaimed timber from the ground

One of the cottages that is used for accommodation at the conservancy made of locally reclaimed materials and its furniture made from reclaimed timber from the ground

Other activities carried out at Kigio that are in line with this year’s theme include partnerships with local communities by funding community projects, employing local people as guides, taking care of orphaned wildlife as part of conservation activities. Kigio has managed to conserve diverse habitats which include short grass, the Leleshwa shrub and euphorbia woodlands. It has so far protected about 100 indigenous plant species.

The conservancy has over 300 bird species including the world’s largest population of grey-crested helmetshrikes. Some of the animals that graze at Kigio include waterbuck, African buffalo, spotted hyena, spring hare, aardvark, African leopard, impala, aardwolf, honey badger and hippopotamus among others. Rothschild’s giraffe which is an endangered species is also found here.

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001The sacred Kaya forests of the Mijikenda community are a living legacy of the people’s history, culture and religion. It is near Diani Beach in Kwale county that is internationally recognized as a tourist destination.

The forest is well represented in biodiversity in terms of sheer diversity, endemism, rarity in many biological groups and bears marks of prolonged human settlement and use. It has 187 plant species, 45 butterfly species, over 48 bird species, the colobus monkey and the rare golden-rumped elephant shrew.

The forest has opened up for controlled ecotourism, a first in the Kenyan coast, which aims to generate income and conserve the sacred forest. The diverse flora and fauna of the forest and the associated processes support local communities in sectors such as biomass energy, food, shelter, herbal medicine, the ecotourism industry and agricultural productivity.

002The forests are also important sources of non-provisioning ecosystem services such as air and water purification, pollination, seed dispersal, climate modification, soil stabilization, drought and flood control, recycling of nutrients, and maintaining healthy habitats. Others include spiritual and aesthetic values, supporting indigenous knowledge systems, and education.

Biodiversity conservation, particularly in these primary sacred forests, mitigates the loss of variability of plant genetic resources and hence averts an economic slump in the region. The conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources is important to the survival of the local communities and environmental conservation.

Local adaptation strategies to climate change are directly supported by the rich biodiversity of the Kaya forests. For example, improvements in crop cultivars and varieties are made possible by harnessing genes from wild species and known varieties. The rich biodiversity observed in Kaya forests is a natural reservoir of genetic traits in crop cultivars and traditional landraces that is important in improving agricultural production.

003However, the involvement of foreign business interests in property grab is contributing to the destruction of the indigenous vegetation posing a threat to the ecosystem. Moreover, tourist development has been destructive to the Kaya Forests as the Diani area has been intensively developed thereby drastically reducing the forest area.

As we prepare to celebrate the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) on Monday 22nd May, 2017, it is good to note that the current pristine status of many Kayas demonstrate the important role that social taboos have played in biodiversity conservation over time; as these forests have remained intact due to taboos that prohibited tree felling, livestock grazing and extraction of forest products.

 

 

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The CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu and PS Dr. Margaret Mwakima takes a group photo, in commemoration to the 12th, May 2017, pass out for 83 foresters and 60 men and women bands men, at the Kenya Forestry College in Londian.

The CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu and PS Dr. Margaret Mwakima takes a group photo, in commemoration to the 12th, May 2017, pass out for 83 foresters and 60 men and women bands men, at the Kenya Forestry College in Londian.

The government has challenged new forest recruits to abide by the set Forest and Conservation guidelines, which spells out their duties and responsibilities.

While officiating the pass-out of 83 Foresters and 60 bands men and women at Kenya Forest Service College in Londiani, Kericho County on Friday, Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu asked the recruits to serve with humility and steadfast dedication as envisaged in the Constitution and the Forest Conservation and Management Act 2016.

 The Cabinet Secretary said that in their duties, the officers will be in charge of a critical natural resource that attracts many unscrupulous and unethical persons whose  aim are  to enrich themselves at the expense of the country’s natural resources.

Wakhungu warned recruits of their involvement in malpractices associated with forest destruction, saying they risk losing their job if spotted abetting corruption in their work stations.

She said the Government has declared zero tolerance to corruption and any corrupt or unethical activities on their part will also lead to prosecution and possible jail terms.

The Cabinet Secretary said the image portrayed by the officers in performing their duties will be the image of the Service that communities will identify about her   Ministry alongside the Government. “Competency, effectiveness and professional service are key in addressing many challenges facing forest conservation in the country” she added.

Prof. Wakhungu further urged the officers to handle the assets and equipment under their charge with great sensitivity and professionalism, averting cases of misuse.

She said her Ministry will continue to support Kenya Forest Service in conservation work by ensuring that the organization has adequate manpower, equipment and other resources that it requires to fulfill its mandate.  This demonstrates the commitment of the Government to enabling the Service to adequately protect and conserve our forest resources for the present and future generations.

Present at the occasion were State Department of Natural Resources Principal Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima, Kenya Forest Service Board Chairperson Peter Kinyua and Chief Conservator of Forest Emilio Mugo.

Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu and her Principal Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima with Senior officials of KFS, ready to lead the passing out parade for basic paramilitary course 2017.

Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu and her Principal Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima with Senior officials of KFS, ready to lead the passing out parade for basic paramilitary course 2017.

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The Principal Secretary for Environment Mr. Charles Sunkuli has expressed confidence that the World Bank will commit fresh support to the Lake Victoria Environmental Management progromme (LVEMP 11) whose second phase expires in December 2017.

Mr. Sunkuli noted that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources had already prepared a concept note for LVEMP phase three that is under Nike Air Max 90 Gs Hyper Pink Vivid Pink consideration for funding by the World Bank.

The World Bank provides major funding of the regional programme in the East African community Golden Goose Deluxe Brand countries that occupy the Lake Victoria catchment area and has already expressed commitment to support the next phase following the Golden Goose Francy Sneakers success of phase 11.

LVEMP involves various environmental projects around the catchment areas of Lake Victoria aimed at conservation and Adidas Ultra Boost Test uplifting the standards of living for the local people.

The PS was speaking at his office when he received World Bank officials on the projects supervision who paid a courtesy call on him.

The officials included the outgoing task team Golden Goose Records Rebajas leader Stephen Ling and the Parajumpers Perfect Weste Incoming team leader Jian Xie. They were accompanied by the director of Programs, projects and Strategic Initiatives in the State department of Environment, Agnes Yobterick and LVEMP 11 National project coordinator Francisca Owour.

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weather

Most parts of the country continued to receive rainfall. The Central Highlands and the Coast were particularly hard hit by heavy downpours…………Read more

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The President of the United Nations General Assembly Mr Peter Thomson and CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu at the animal orphanage site in the Nairobi National Park yesterday, on 7th May 2017.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly Mr Peter Thomson and CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu at the animal orphanage site in the Nairobi National Park yesterday, on 7th May 2017.

The Government’s directive to ban manufacture, importation and use of plastic bags in the country by September this year has received mammoth support from the United Nations General Assembly. The 71st  Session United Nations General Assembly President Peter Thomson yesterday extoled the order, describing it as a step forward to safeguarding the environment.

Mr. Thomson said use of plastic bags across the globe was contributing immensely to environmental pollution. He said the United Nations General Assembly was rallying its member countries to embrace use of devices which are environment friendly.

President Thomson made these remarks during his official tour of the Nairobi National Park, yesterday 27th May 2017. He accredited the government’s move to burn 105 tons of ivory adding that the initiative was a clear indication that Kenya is committed to eradicate wildlife poaching.

While accepting the President’s acknowledgement, Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu reaffirmed her ministry’s commitment to upscale wildlife and environment conservation.

Prof. Wakhungu said the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has implemented far-reaching measures including enacting stiff decrees that prohibits wildlife poaching, human wildlife conflicts and destruction of the environment.

The President and his entourage were accompanied by Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Kitili Mbathi among other government officials.

Mr. Thomson and his delegation are in the country to hold talks with relevant government agencies in regard to illegal wildlife trade, trophies trafficking, human wildlife conflict, wildlife policies and legal frame works alongside community participation.

The government has banned use of plastic bags used for the commercialization and household packaging. The ban includes importation, manufacture and use of plastic bags CS Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu said the ban takes effect in six months’ time and it is in line with environmental management. The banned plastic bags are categorized under the carrier bag and flat bag where carrier bag is defined as one constructed with handles, and with or without gussets. The flat bag are constructed without handles, and with or without gussets.

GAME DRIVE. CS Wakhungu and H.E. Peter Thomson together with his delegation makes a game drive at the NNP.

GAME DRIVE. CS Wakhungu and H.E. Peter Thomson together with his delegation makes a game drive at the NNP.

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ps

Posing for a memorable photo are, PS State Department of Natural Resources Dr Margaret Mwakima (center) with participants to validate the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy at the Kenya Commercial Bank Leadership Center in Karen

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is fine-tuning a National Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy whose implementation will among others shield the sector from increased human-wildlife conflicts.

While unveiling a one-day Validation Workshop to discuss the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Policy at Kenya Commercial Bank Leadership Centre yesterday, Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said the first Wildlife Policy approved in 1975, had subsequent challenges which need to be addressed.

 In a speech read on her behalf by State Department of Natural Resources Principal Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima, Prof. Wakhungu said policy alterations will curb chronic issues within the wildlife sector such as human wildlife conflicts, increased poaching and illegal trade, conflicting sectorial policies and decline in wildlife numbers and range.

The Cabinet Secretary explained that the   implementation of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 has brought about significant changes in the structure , and not only recognizes the Constitutional reality of three tenure systems but also contain provisions dealing with conservancies both on community and private lands as well as provisions on benefit sharing.

Wakhungu further said that emerging opportunities exist in wildlife as a land use by promoting participatory land-use planning in wildlife corridors and dispersal areas in community and private land.

 “Other opportunities include innovative benefit-sharing and conflict resolution mechanisms, and engaging in social contracts with communities to increase space for wildlife with shared liabilities,” Prof. Wakhungu added.

The finalization of the policy is being spearheaded by Stakeholders drawn from both the government and private sector. The deliberations entail interviews, focused group discussions and peer review workshops.

PS Dr Margaret Mwakima (center), with Conservation Secretary Mr Gathaara (right) and Director Wildlife Conservation Mr Stephen Manegene (left), Listening keenly on presentations from various speakers during the Validation workshop to discuss the policy on Wildlife Conservation and Management

PS Dr Margaret Mwakima (center), with Conservation Secretary Mr Gathaara (right) and Director Wildlife Conservation Mr Stephen Manegene (left), Listening keenly on presentations from various speakers during the Validation workshop to discuss the policy on Wildlife Conservation and Management

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weatherApril marks the peak of the “Long Rains” season. During the first half of the month highly depressed rainfall was recorded over most parts of the country including the western and central highlands. In the second half, however most stations reported significant increases in rainfall characteristic of the peak month. However, these amounts were still way below their LTMs. Most meteorological stations in the country recorded rainfall that was well below 75 percent of their Long-Term Means (LTMs) for the month. Up to 27th April, only Kisii, Makindu and Machakos had exceeded 75% of their LTMs with 86.1%, 93.5% and 166.9% respectively. The stations with the lowest LTMS for the month were Lodwar (2.8%), Lamu (7.9%), Narok (12.1%), Laikipia (19%), Marsabit (19.2%), and Nyahururu (19.5%) that recorded less than 20 percent of their April LTMs.

The rainfall performance during April 2017……….read more

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CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu being taken on a conducted tour of the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, when she commissioned JKIA Weather station, that is operated by the Kenya Meteorological Department

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu being taken on a conducted tour of the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, when she commissioned JKIA Weather station, that is operated by the Kenya Meteorological Department

Kenya has met a major condition by establishing automatic weather observation systems at its main airports to qualify to operate direct flights to the United States of America.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu said that the equipment installed at Jomo Kenyatta, Eldoret and Kisumu International airports would significantly improve aviation in the country and the region through providing weather information in ten minutes intervals.

Prof Wakhungu was speaking today at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when she commissioned the Automatic Weather System that will improve forecasting by providing more accurate data to the aviation industry.

The Meteorological Observations that will be performed automatically by the new equipment include: Air temperature, Wind speed and direction, Pressure, Air humidity, Dew point temperature, Precipitation, Solar Radiation, Visibility, Cloud Height, and Thunderstorms.

In addition the system will be able to monitor Clear Air Turbulence (CAT) due to strong cross winds or wind gusts.The commissioning was witnessed by Deputy Director in charge of Kenya Meteorological Training Institute, Stella Aura, and the deputy Director in charge of Aeronautic Meteorology, Elijah Bukachi, together with Kenya Airports and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority officials.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, accompanied by officials from KMD, being shown the newly constructed weather station at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi.DSC_0066

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, accompanied by officials from KMD, being shown the newly constructed weather station at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi.DSC_0066

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