Wednesday, September 22, 2021
The CS Keriako and CCF Julius Kamau during the tour at Camp Ndunda, boardwalks in Njukiini Forest (1)

The CS Keriako and CCF Julius Kamau during the tour at Camp Ndunda, boardwalks in Njukiini Forest (1)

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko together with the Chief Conservator of Forests Mr Julius Kamau marked the World Desertification and Drought Day (WDDD) by visiting Njukiini forest in Embu County. In line with this year’s theme reclamation, restoration and recovery, CS Tobiko was led through a brief on the status of forest conservation in Eastern Conservancy which predominantly comprises Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) counties namely; Makueni, Kitui, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, and parts of Meru.

WDDD is an annual event set aside by the United Nations under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for sensitizing the global, national and local communities on desertification, land degradation and drought; and is commemorated every 17th of June.

During the visit, CS Tobiko met with members of community forest associations (CFAs) from Tana River and Lamu counties who were in a visit in the upper catchment areas from which the rivers they derive their livelihood emanates. The visit intent was to cross- learn from the upper community on the connectivity between forest conservation practices and their implications on degradation and draw joint solutions on how they can influence behaviour change and actions to mitigate desertification, degradation and drought in Tana Delta.

CS Tobiko applauded the nexus between upstream and downstream communities in enhancing forest conservation and protection noting that when the two are connected and are aware of how their actions whether negative or positive affect each others livelihood, gains in conservation and livelihoods will be guarded. The CS also appreciated the county officers from Lamu & Tana River who were also part of the delegation and reiterated that forests belong to the people and the government is only a steward. He thanked Eden Reforestation Project and Nature Kenya, as conservation partners who sponsored the CFA tour and rehabilitation of degraded mangrove forest ecosystems respectively.

The CS lauded the CFAs exposure visit noting that new ideas picked from the visit would go a long way in strengthening the CFAs. He advised them to form strong inter-catchment networks and work together to conserve the forests and the water resource. In his address to the CFAs, the CCF Mr. Kamau acknowledged exposure visits by CFAs as the best tools to promote awareness and capacity development in forest conservation. He further encouraged the Head of Conservancies to open CFA discussion forums through a network so that they can share information and cross-learn from each other on strengthening participation in forest management.

CCF further noted that the realisation by the downstream communities that the actions of the upstream communities have a direct implication on their lives and livelihoods, and by travelling more than 500 km to visit, witness conservation efforts and the source of the waters they depend on and inspire positive actions is a key indicator of patriotism and nationhood among the upstream and downstream communities which should be emulated by all.

The CS and CCF also explored Camp Ndunda, an ecotourism facility within the forest station and which is run by the Njukiri community forest association where they were taken on an adventure tour of boardwalks over the twin Ndunda Falls. The duo also conducted a commemorative tree planting exercise in marking the #WDDD2021



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