Frontal lead: Ministry of Environment kicks off national tree planting campaign

7/03…The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has kicked off a national tree planting exercise as part of a strategic campaign to increase forest cover to 10% by the year 2022.

Leading from the front, the Ministry Headquarters staff, line agencies including the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Meteorological Department and the Kenya Water Towers Agency are today set to undertake a 10,000 trees planting exercise at the Ngong’ Forest reserve.

The exercise spearheaded by Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko will see the Ministry agencies plant and commit to adopting thousands of trees to celebrate the national tree planting campaign.

Speaking ahead of the event, Tobiko said the ministry will provide technical support for local public and private sector institutions taking part in the national tree planting campaign.

“All Kenyans, young and old are encouraged to go out and plant as many trees as possible this year as we seek to reverse environmental degradation by doubling forest cover,” Tobiko said. “As the national tree planting campaigns kick off, we shall join hands with local corporates, schools, disciplined forces and individuals among others to ensure a sustained adoption of a tree planting and nurturing culture,” Tobiko added.

The national tree planting campaign comes hot on the heels of the recent commitment by the Council of Governors (CoG) to support the national government’s reforestation efforts.

At an engagement session with Cabinet Secretary Tobiko on Monday, CoG Chairperson and Turkana Governor Joseph Nanok said the CoG has resolved to work with the national government to advance initiatives’ geared at promoting the restoration of forest cover.

The CoG, Nanok said will collaborate with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to prepare a policy paper on logging and measures for both levels of government to adopt in order to control deforestation.

As part of the measures to facilitate forest resources restoration, the Government has also commissioned a multi-sectoral Taskforce comprising of eminent environmentalists and related experts to inquire into forest resources management and logging activities in Kenya. The task force that was commissioned on Monday by Deputy President, William Ruto has been mandated to determine the extent of environmental degradation and provide practical recommendations to ensure the sustainable restoration of forest resources.

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.