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WWF-Kenya takes steps to Keep Kenya Breathing

WWF-Kenya has launch of a national environmental campaign, dubbed KEEP KENYA BREATHING that aims to raise awareness and mobilize Kenyans to take action for conservation.

WWF-Kenya has launch of a national environmental campaign, dubbed KEEP KENYA BREATHING that aims to raise awareness and mobilize Kenyans to take action for conservation. The announcement was made during the launch ceremony at Sankara Hotel and was attended by the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Mr. Charles Sunkuli, WWF-Kenya Chairman Mr. Isaac Awuondo and WWF-Kenya CEO Mr. Mohamed Awer.

The goal of the campaign is to contribute towards the increase of Kenya’s forest cover through encouraging Kenyans to take urgent and deliberate efforts to plant and grow trees. Tree cover is key towards safeguarding critical water sources that supports high yielding agricultural zones, wildlife habitats and mitigates against negative impact of climate change.

“The campaign is an open platform and invitation for all stakeholders, the Kenyan public, Corporates, Government and industry peers to come together for Nature. It is a rallying call to action for all Kenyans to play their part and get involved in order to Keep Kenya Breathing by taking action in reforesting Kenya,” mentioned WWF-Kenya CEO Mohamed Awer.

Forests are critical water towers in the country; the Mau complex, Mount Kenya, Aberdares, Cherangani Hills and Mt Elgon forests are the backbone of the country’s economy providing 75% of its renewable water resources.
Kenya is estimated to have 3.5 million hectares of forest cover of which 700,000 hectares is primary forest, which is the equivalent to about 1.2% of the country. It is further estimated that forests contribute about KSH. 7 billion to the Kenyan economy and are responsible for the direct employment of 50,000 people and indirect employment of 300,000.
 “Since our inception in 1962, WWF Kenya’s mission has always been to stop the degradation of our natural environment and to build a future in which Kenyans live in harmony with nature.  We are now at a pivotal junction, for the current rate of forest destruction in the country points towards catastrophic and irreversible losses of biodiversity and climate change,” stated WWF Kenya Chairman Isaac Awuondo.

“The drying of rivers as a result of drought that has been experienced in the country in the recent past is a major indicator of the effects of forest destruction. We recommend that every effort should be put in place to ensure that forest resources are sustainably managed and we believe that Keep Kenya Breathing is a step in the right direction, however we know that we cannot do this alone,” he concluded.

Working in partnership with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and other key partners, WWF-Kenya has continuously supported institutional and capacity development of Community Forest Associations. This community approach has ensured that planning for natural resources management is a people process and contributes towards ownership at a grass roots level ensuring sustainability of forest management from the perspective of the community. 
In his speech before he officially launched the Keep Kenya Breathing national campaign, the Principal Secretary in the Minsitry of Enviornment and Forest Charles Sunkuli, stated, ‘’More than a quarter of our medicine comes from forests. The business is worth about Ksh. 108 billion in a year. 10% forest cover is the globally accepted figure for a healthy planet."

He further reiterated the Government of Kenya’s commitment from the highest level to restore the country’s forest cover, ‘’One of the agenda of Vision 2030 is to have Kenya as a middle-income country in a healthy and secure environment. On 26th April, the National Forest Day, all Cabinet Secretaries and senior government officials have committed to take part in tree planting activities. If you do not have a space to plant trees, the Kenya Forest Service has 1 million hectares freely available for replanting"
Keep Kenya Breathing campaign calls for everyone’s support in bringing back our green through engaging Kenyans to plant 1 Billion trees in an effort that will facilitate the realization of the Vision 2030 target that will see Kenya return to 10% forest cover. WWF-Kenya commits to continue with the support of their partners to take sustainable action to promote tree growing and raise awareness of forest conservation issues amongst Kenyans.
Earlier in the day, the Kenya Scouts Association, WWF-Kenya staff, staff and pupils of Huruma Primary School were led by the Chief Conservator of Forests from the Kenya Forest Service Patrick Kariuki in planting more than 800 tree seedlings at the school compound and established the first botanical garden in the school that will offer both a learning forum and shade in addition to fruits to the pupils.

The preparation of a County Spatial Plan is a requirement under the County Government Act, 2012 which requires that all County Governments in Kenya should prepare and implement GIS – based County Spatial Plans. The Spatial Plans should be prepared within the existing legal and policy frameworks - the County Government Act 2012, the Urban Areas & Cities Act & the Physical Planning Act (Cap 286) and policies such as Sustainable Development Goals, Kenya Vision 2030, National Spatial Plan, The National Land Policy and the National Urban Development Policy.