Kenya: Israel Ambassador praises urban forests serving recreational purposes

Kenya: Michael Lotem, Israel’s Ambassador to Kenya, has expressed appreciation that urban forests play in providing safe spaces for recreational purposes. He was speaking during a courtesy call on the Chief Conservator of Forests at the Kenya Forest Service headquarters.

Ag. CCF Alex Lemarkoko, who hosted the Israeli team, said he greatly appreciates the long and productive relationship the Service has cultivated with the people of Israel, particularly in forest conservation and development.

Lemarkoko flagged out tree planting, noting that the Israel Embassy in Kenya had taken up five hectares, a section of Uplands forest, Kiambu County, for rehabilitation. He said the area is already transformed, with 2,800 tree seedlings grown and benches placed strategically to allow recreational activities for forest users.

The site is a historical ground where Kenya’s freedom fighters, the Mau Mau, were massacred in 1954. Lemarkoko added that the site would be scaled up to an arboretum status, in line with preserving our Kenyan culture and heritage.

Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, of which the Israel Embassy in Kenya is a party, an additional 25 Ha have been taken up for rehabilitation in the same forest.

Lemarkoko said these sites are critical and contribute to sustainable water yield for the people of Kiambu and Nairobi Counties because the streams and rivers coming from the forest feed into Ruiru dam, which is one of the water sources for the city.

Lotem and his host, and companion, Lemarkoko, resolved to advance and deepen a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration for capacity development in dryland forestry development in Kenya between Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and KKL-JNF (Karen Kayemeth Leisrael, Jewish National Fund) that was entered into in the year 2017.

Kenya Forest Service also posted on their official account in which they stated, “Michael Lotem Israel’s Ambassador to Kenya has expressed appreciation that urban forests play in providing safe spaces for recreational purposes. He was speaking during a courtesy call on the Ag. @CCF_Kenya Alex Lemarkoko at the KFS headquarters.”

Amelia Jones

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