The future of humanity depends on wetlands as they are natural shields to protect shorelines, transport, infrastructure, energy, tourism and mitigate communities from vulnerability to climate change impacts, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu has said.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Environment, Mr. Charles Sunkuli during the 2017 World Wetlands Day celebrations, Prof. Wakhungu called for maintenance of the ecological integrity of wetlands through conservation and proper management.
This she observed would reinforce their critical role in reducing natural disasters that would otherwise impact on the future of humanity.
Wetlands act as buffers against storms, and relieve both floods and droughts, that would otherwise adversely impact on humans and their livelihood.
The CS noted that her Ministry is championing the development of site specific Wetland Integrated Management Plans that will bring order in the management and sustainable use of wetlands in the country.
Among the Integrated management plans are Wetlands Regulation 2009, Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 2015 and the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013.
Prof. Wakhungu called on the County Government of Trans Nzoia, and other County Governments, to domesticate these measures through enacting by-laws that will help in the conservation and management of wetlands.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February, marking the date in 1971, when the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar, drawing attention to the importance of wetlands. The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day was ‘Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction’, which sought to bring out the role of wetlands in controlling the impacts of natural disasters such as floods, drought, storms, hurricanes and tsunamis.
During the celebrations held at Kipsaina in Kitale , also attended by the Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor, Dr.Stanley Kemei, among other dignitaries, the Principal Secretary launched the Environment Policy; Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); Integrated Coastal Zone Management Policy (ICZM); National Wetlands Policy; and National wetlands Strategy.