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Counties urged to converge in environmental conservation

Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Principal Secretary (PS), Dr Chris Kiptoo, has asked counties to identify their unique strengths in conservation, preservation and protection of the environment and showcase them to the world throughout the year.

Kiptoo pointed out that this will be a way of celebrating the five decades that United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been in existence, more so, taking pride that its Headquarters are in this country.

The PS observed that Kenya has multiple success stories at the grassroots and that the citizenry need to be encouraged through the devolved units, to map out best practices among communities and celebrate through a well-coordinated plan.

In so doing, they stand a chance of attracting more support from the National Government through increased budget allocation, as well as from development partners who are keen on implementing the conservation, preservation and protection environmental agenda.

“We need to see more action at the county level as they celebrate their various achievements, not as a one-off celebration, but all year round,” the PS said.

The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Council, was asked to mobilize the Community Based Organizations (CBOs), the Youth and Women groups through their networks, by using the county channels, to realize this objective.

At the same time, Dr Kiptoo called upon the devolved governments to upscale environmental integration in their policies, programmes and projects.

His sentiments were supported by the Principal Secretary, East African Community, Mr Kevin Desai, who also said that as the world commemorates the UNEP@50, the East African region needs to synergize their action plans and through the bloc, upscale its policies, programmes and projects in order to achieve the African Union (AU) Agenda, 2063.

AU Agenda, 2063, Aspiration 2 foresees an integrated, united, peaceful, sovereign, independent, confident and self-reliant continent.

The dream is to eventually have a world class integrative infrastructure that crisscrosses the continent, a dynamic and mutually beneficial links with her Diaspora and a continent of seamless borders and management of cross-border resources through dialogue.

“The relevance of these celebrations is that we have an opportunity to amplify it at the East African Community by mapping out issues like forest coverage and transboundary ecosystems in this region,” Desai said.

The two PSs were speaking, today, through a virtual meeting during an Inter-Ministerial Preparatory Committee meeting that is planning for UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2), which will take place from 28th February to 2nd March followed by UNEP@50 commemoration slated for 3rd to 4th March 2022 at the UNEP Headquarters, Gigiri, Kenya.

Some of the expected outcomes of the commemoration is firming UNEP´s work to promote the Environmental Science-Policy interface, to support the evidence needs of reinvigorated multilateral policies and systems; stirring up environmental action, including providing support to Member States and their implementation of existing multilateral environment agreements, promoting a more networked, inclusive and effective multilateral system anchored within the United Nations.

It will also be instrumental in strengthening UNEP´s role as the global environmental authority within the UN system, and further elevating its Nairobi Headquarters as the global hub for the environment.

By Nancy JN Mathu

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