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Cabinet Secretaries to champion rapid tree planting activities in Counties  

The Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has rallied the public and private sector including Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Civil Society organizations, and organized associations to support the Government’s plan to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.

To augment the collaboration efforts, Tuya said, the Cabinet during a meeting in Mombasa State House endorsed a whole government approach in the environmental conservation campaign to tackle the crisis of pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change.

“The 15 Billion Tree campaign is a whole society, whole government approach. The Cabinet moved a directive that will see Cabinet Secretaries (CS) championing tree planting campaigns in the counties. Each CS will be in charge of 2 counties and they will be tasked to coordinate all the players in these counties to achieve this objective,” said Tuya.

The strategy, she added, has outlined targets for every County to be divided among all the Ministries, Departments, state and non-state agencies, other stakeholders, and individuals at the grassroots level to accelerate the planting of 15 billion trees nationwide.

“In the Nyanza region, Eliud Owalo, CS Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy will help coordinate all stakeholders in Kisumu County to attain a target of 91.8 million trees in ten years. Siaya, Migori and Homabay Counties have a target of 149 million trees each in ten years translating to 14 million annually,” she explained.

Tuya made the remarks when she joined the Professional Association of Nyanza (PANY) Women in planting over 1,000 tree seedlings in Kisumu County. The event was also attended by her counterparts CS Owalo and Labour and Social Protection CS Florence Bore.

“Environmental conservation has become an issue of livelihood concern for the global population because of the devastating impacts of the climate change crisis. As a nation, we are dealing with serious droughts and floods. The low-hanging fruit for combating this menace is to cover our country with trees,” noted Ms Tuya.

Through the accelerated ecosystem restoration agenda, the Kenya Kwanza administration seeks to attain a national tree cover of 30 percent from the current 12.3 percent.

CS Tuya observed that in Nyanza region, most Counties are trailing in maintaining the set constitutional target tree cover of at least 10 percent.

“Siaya County has a tree cover of 5.27 percent way below the anticipated constitutional threshold, Kisumu County has 8.85 percent, Homabay County 10.4 percent, and Migori County is at 10.76 percent,” she stated.

Notably, Tuya noted that Nyeri and Lamu Counties are all above the Constitutional threshold with a tree cover of 45 percent and 44 percent respectively.

The initiative, she added, also seeks to amend the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act to allow Members of Parliament to engage women and young people in the ecosystem restoration efforts through planting, growing trees, and production of adequate seedlings intended for the cause.

Additionally, CS Tuya pointed out that the government is planning to gazette a national day, set aside for tree-planting activities across the nation to take advantage of the short rain season.

“In this short rainy season, we will gazette a national day for tree-growing exercises across the country. On this day, every Kenyan will be allowed to retreat to their places of choice and participate in contributing to the 15 billion trees,” she stated.

The government, Tuya noted, has partnered with forest-adjacent communities in a participatory forest management plan to support sustainable activities and conservation efforts for these resources.

At the same time, she issued a stern warning to private developers who have encroached on riparian land, forest reserves, water catchment areas, and wetlands.

“There is zero tolerance to any encroachment, illegal logging, and any unsustainable activities within our forests ecosystems. We have begun eviction operations at the Mau Forest Complex and the operation is set to continue to other affected regions,” stated Tuya.

By Robert Ojwang’

 

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