Environment CS names Forest resources management Taskforce

27/02…The Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Keriako Tobiko has named a panel of eminent environmentalists among other professionals to sit in a strategic rapid results taskforce on Forestry management.

The multi-sectoral taskforce named today, will inquire into forest resources management and logging activities in Kenya to determine the extent of environmental degradation and provide practical recommendations to ensure the sustainable restoration of forest resources.

Speaking when he announced the Taskforce membership, Tobiko said the panel has been constituted with clear terms of reference and are expected to table their report within 14days.

The Government, Tobiko assured will provide the necessary resources and facilitation necessary for the specialist taskforce to conduct its business within the shortest time possible.

The wanton destruction of forest resources, Tobiko said poses a threat to the achievement of the big four agenda items of the Jubilee Government, necessitating rapid interventions.

“The Government is conscious of the urgent need to provide remedial action and resources to save our forestry resources,” Tobiko said, adding that, “The appointment of this Rapid Results Taskforce provides a much needed foundation for a multi-sectoral action plan and I look forward to receiving their report and recommendations at the earliest opportunity.”

The Taskforce will be chaired by The Green Belt Movement Chairperson, Mrs. Marion Wakanyi Kamau with Environment Institute of Kenya Vice Chairperson, Mrs Linda Munyao, Rhino Ark Charitable Trust Executive Director Christian Lambrechts, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Mrs. Phyllis Wakiaga and Kenya Water Towers Agency Chairperson, Mr. Isaac Kalua serving as members.

Other members to the Taskforce include prominent corporate lawyer and KCB Bank Director, Mr. Adil Khawaja, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) Environment, Water & Natural Resources Sector Board Chairperson, Mr. Duncan Kimani, COTU official Mr. Ernest Nadome and Lawyers Ms Faith Waigwa and Mr. Gideon Kilakoi.

The multi-sectoral Taskforce, Tobiko added will also feature Public sector representatives drawn from the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, Ministry of Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Lands and a Representative of the Council of Governors.

The naming of the taskforce follows a directive by Deputy President, William Ruto last weekend placing a national moratorium on logging activities in all public and community forests for a period of NINETY (90) days to allow for the reassessment and rationalization of the entire forest sector in Kenya.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry and other relevant ministries, departments and agencies of both National and County Governments have already commenced joint prompt and decisive action to enforce the moratorium.

The country is facing unprecedented serious and acute water crisis running into three years now. This has occasioned low water levels in rivers and streams. Deforestation, degradation and encroachment of water towers and other catchment areas coupled with uncontrolled human activities including wanton logging have threatened and undermined our country’s capability to ensure food security.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry in consultation with all relevant stakeholders is directed to immediately constitute a task force and prepare a report within 14 days on the forest sector, and propose appropriate remedial measures.