Kenya celebrates International Day of forests to raise awareness

Kenya: The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21st March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

This day was celebrated today at Kereita Forest in Kiambu county, where the Principal Secretary for the State Department of Forestry, Ephantus Kimani, was the Chief Guest. The PS, who was accompanied by the Ag. Chief Conservator of Forests Alex Lemarkoko and FAO Representative to Kenya Amb. Carla Mucavi led a tree-planting exercise where 15,000 seedlings were planted.

In his remarks, the PS noted that the world had recognized climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss as big challenges. He highlighted that the 15 billion trees growing campaign is a strategy that Kenya is using to tackle the environmental challenges. He reiterated the importance of all stakeholders, both state and non-state organs, in achieving the 30% tree cover by 2032.

The KFS Board Chairman, Job Chirchir, who was also present at the event, appreciated the local Community Forest Association for their notable organization and collaboration with KFS. Chirchir thanked the Ministry under the leadership of the CS Soipan Tuya for supporting the Service during the recently concluded recruitment exercise of forest rangers.

He further urged all Kenyans to join hands in the villages and homes to plant and grow trees in their environs to secure a cleaner and safer environment. Also, speaking at the function, the Ag. CCF noted that the Service had attracted partners, both local and international, that have been taking part in the restoration of degraded forest areas.

He cited the National Forest Resources Assessment Report while calling upon the local communities to work together with the county government of Kiambu in tree-growing initiatives to grow the forest and tree cover within the county.

The Ag.CCF also issued a call of action to all partners to join the government agencies to get involved in restoring our nation’s climate. The Service has also led and coordinated tree-planting exercises across the country in parallel with celebrations of IDF.

The event was also attended by Board members, management and staff from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry SAGAs, local leaders, adjacent forest communities and students from neighbouring schools.

Amelia Jones

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