- Tuya called for more participation of local communities including youth, women and children in environmental conservation activities.
- The CS said her ministry had adopted a catchment approach to the restoration of wetlands as opposed to localised interventions.
Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya on Thursday unveiled Kenya's wetlands restoration strategy in Nairobi.
She called for more participation of local communities including youth, women and children in environmental conservation activities.
Tuya spoke at a meeting of Regional and County Directors of Environment and Conservators of Forests and Environment executives.
The CS said her ministry had adopted a catchment approach to the restoration of wetlands as opposed to localised interventions which often fail.
"Restoration and rehabilitation of wetlands is a priority and should be done on a catchment scale or as a basin. I am happy this is the approach that the State Department for Environment and Climate Change has taken," she said.
"Wetland restoration that is done at a local scale is often negated by degradation upstream or downstream, and when it is done in this uncoordinated manner, it is short-lived and the benefits are not fully realized."
On greater participation of local communities in environmental conservation including wetlands restoration, the CS said their involvement would help create jobs in line with the Kenya Kwanza administration's bottom-up economic model.
"We can be inspired by one of the most successful wetlands restoration initiatives, the Working for Wetlands in South Africa, a 20-year wetlands restoration program that resulted in the generation of 37,000 jobs mostly for youth and women. This can also be done here in Kenya," Tuya said.
The CS said her ministry had prioritised wetlands restoration as part of the Government's flagship project of expanding Kenya's tree cover from the current 12.3 to 30 per cent by 2032 by growing 15 billion trees over the decade.
"So, this strategy that the State Department for Environment and Climate Change has taken, will satisfy amongst others, the dual role of meeting the 15 billion national tree growing and restoration target but also help the country in combating climate change," she said.
At the meeting convened by the National Environment Management Authority, Tuya also spoke about her ministry's priority areas of ecosystem restoration through the 15 billion tree-growing programme, circular economy and climate action.
She said her ministry was in the process of amending the Climate Change Act to "deliver a carbon markets framework that is transparent and has integrity" because of the market's great potential to finance Kenya's climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.
In line with last year's Sustainable Waste Management Act, Tuya said her ministry was working on developing a vibrant circular economy that will transform the over 8 million metric tonnes of waste Kenya generates annually into raw material for industrial production.
She called for an all-society approach in the rollout of the 15 billion tree-growing programmes and challenged counties to emulate national government institutions and the private sector by adopting degraded forests and virgin acreage in their jurisdictions for reafforestation and afforestation.
"As county governments, your governors at the last summit in Naivasha committed to allocating 20 per cent of FLOCCA funds to the 15 billion national tree growing programme. As officers in charge of the sector, please use your good offices to ensure that these commitments are realised," the CS told the executives.
Tuya said she is determined to ensure that collaboration between her Ministry and Counties in environmental conservation was strengthened, and thanked Nema for organizing the inaugural two-day inter-governmental meeting on environmental conservation.
"I acknowledge the work that counties do in the environment, climate change and forestry, and it is for this reason that I will seek to strengthen the partnership between the ministry and county governments in the life of my administration. This meeting is one such, and many more will follow," she said.
"Our coming together as national and county governments is important for the environment function. These meetings and conferences should not be ad hoc. They should be part of the policy implementation continuum to help deliver the country’s environment mandate and promise."
Tuya directed the State Department of Environment and Climate Change to fast-track the enactment of an inter-governmental coordination framework to ensure proper coordination of the environmental function between the Ministry and Counties.
Further, the Cabinet Secretary directed Nema and counties, to ensure the gazettement and operationalization of all county environment committees as well as the appointment of more county-based environment inspectors.
Other speakers on the first day of the two-day meeting were Principal Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Festus Ng'eno who presented the wetlands restoration strategy and Nema director general Mamo B Mamo.