- UNDP Kenya Resident Representative Walid Badawi describes Kenya as "a sustainable development powerhouse and an acknowledged leader in environmental management".
- Badawi says UNDP has seen a concerted reforestation campaign that is resulting in tree planting and wetland restoration.
The United Nations on Wednesday lauded government initiatives to fight desertification and drought.
UNDP Kenya Resident Representative Walid Badawi described Kenya as "a sustainable development powerhouse and an acknowledged leader in environmental management".
Badawi made the remarks in a statement to mark this year's World Day to Combat Desertification.
"We celebrate Kenya for continuing to be a conservation powerhouse with rich biodiversity ecosystems that straddle the four corners of the country from the North to the South, from the West to the East," he said.
Badawi said the diversity of Kenya's rich environmental resources is real and breathtakingly beautiful.
"From the pristine coastal environments; the white sandy beaches; sprawling conservancies in the ranges and the plateaus; to a rich blend of lakes, rivers and forested montane ecosystems, Kenya is to be appreciated for its environmental conservation agenda. We acknowledge the efforts by the government to achieve an even greener and cleaner Kenya."
Badawi said UNDP has seen a concerted reforestation campaign that is resulting in tree planting and wetland restoration.
"The gains in this area need to be upscaled and we would wish to see more county governments join this campaign to ensure the constitutional 10 per cent tree cover target is met, even sooner," he said.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko led government officials in commemorating the World to Combat Desertification at City Park.
The theme for this year is: 'Food. Feed. Fibre.'
On climate change, UNDP also celebrated Kenya for her ambitious nationally determined contributions submitted to the UNFCCC that commits to a 30 per cent emission reduction.
"More can and should be done to realise the benefits of a greener future that should guide Kenya’s recovery strategy for the Covid-19 pandemic," Walid said.
He said UNDP stands ready to work with the government in defining the new post-Covid-19 normal.
Anne Juepner, director Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification, said this year’s commemoration seeks to highlight how much of what people eat and wear comes from food and fibre, which in turn comes from the land.
"Plants and animals provide most of our food, clothing and footwear. This means that food, animal feed and fibre for clothing all compete for productive land, which are all growing due to the population growth and increasing global middle classes," she said.
Juepner said the focus is on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s unsustainable production and consumption patterns.
She said more than two billion hectares of previously productive land has been degraded worldwide to produce food, feed and fibre.
Almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry and other land use.
Edited by Henry Makori