Kenya joined the international community in marking the World Environment Day on Friday by vowing to expand green areas across the country.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who led government and private sector representatives in a tree planting exercise to commemorate the day said the government is fully committed to the conservation agenda.
He said the government will step up efforts to expand the number and size of conservancies, arboreta, parks and wildlife reserves so as to ensure the country’s botanical and zoological diversity is maintained.
Kenyatta listed a number of ongoing initiatives, including the restoration of Michuki Park, the expansion of Nairobi National Park and the reclamation of grabbed forest land.
“We are also reclaiming our Ngong Forest and we are going to start the process of fencing it and ensuring that it is also available not only for the present but for future generations,” he said.
“We have done in the last one month another 2,000 acres for Nairobi National Park and this is what we want to continue doing including restoration of various green areas, among them rehabilitation of City Park,” said the president.
He underscored the key role that forests play as a reservoir of biodiversity, saying Kenya is on course to achieving the 10 percent national tree cover target.
As part of the government’s conservation agenda, Kenyatta said all major infrastructure projects including the Standard Gauge Railway are being implemented in a manner that ensures that biodiversity is not tampered with.
“As a government, we have also taken steps to ensure that the infrastructure projects being implemented, which are a key driver of economic growth, do not cause any degradation to our natural habitats and biodiversity,” he said.
Kenyatta called for closer cooperation between government entities, the private sector and local communities, saying such collaborations have enabled Kenya to register a fall in wildlife poaching incidents, illegal logging and human-wildlife conflicts.