The government of Kenya in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is set to undertake a multibillion shillings tree planting scheme to boost the country’s forest cover beyond the constitutional target of 10 per cent tree cover on its the national land area by 2022. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary in the country’s, Ministry of Environment and Forestry said during a meeting with Journalists that the ministry is reaching out to stakeholders to help build a strong partnership to support the massive afforestation and reforestation programme.
Currently, the nation’s forest cover is a mere seven per cent. Kiptoo said the government has identified institutions with large tracts of land for the afforestation program as a way of improving the national tree cover.
He said the strategy provides the basis for wider stakeholders’ participation in accelerating government initiative to plant and grow trees to attain the set target.
At the same, Kiptoo said under the partnership with UNDP they are implementing the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) REDD+ Readiness Project in the country in collaboration with partners drawn from both government and the private sector including research/academic institutions and local communities among them indigenous peoples groups to produce seedlings, plant and nurture them in suitable ecological zones. REDD+ is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) programmes that support countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
”The Project aims at supporting Kenya’s efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable climate-resilient economic growth, while slowing the soaring rates of GHG emissions emanating from the forest sector,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Walid Badawi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya said his organization is support Kenya’s quest for invigorated afforestation through its Climate Promise Initiative with US$4 million going into the programme.
“We are supporting Kenya because the environment and forestry sectors are the foundation with upon which the performance of the key primary sectors of the economy is anchored including manufacturing, energy, health and agriculture,” he said.
Badawi said already, UNDP, has successfully supported National REDD+ readiness processes in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia amongst others.
“It is astounding to note that annually the world loses about 4.7 million hectares of tropical forest every year, while Kenya loses 12,000 ha of forests. This loss is often attributable to the development of infrastructure and other human activities,” he observed. The ministry and UNDP are keen to engage media institutions to play a central role in the project in sensitizing stakeholders in efforts towards mitigating the effects of climate change and forest degradation.
The awareness creation will also reinforce the importance of increasing the country’s forest cover. It is projected that two billion seedlings will be planted to attain the 10 per cent tree cover.