Kenya: The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Soipan Tuya today presided over Sandalwood Burning Exercise at DCI headquarters.
The sandalwood burning follows a court order issued by Senior Principal Magistrate Boaz Ombewa of Kahawa Law Courts. The 13.5 tons of sandalwood burned worth Ksh 54 million was seized from Samburu East, Wamba area.
Speaking during the ceremony, the CS said the burning was a symbolic act that demonstrates the commitment and teamwork of various stakeholders in breaking illicit networks that seek to benefit from the growing illicit trade in sandalwood trees and their products.
The CS reiterated the need to enhance surveillance, information sharing and collaboration with forest-adjacent communities to stem the tide of sandalwood trafficking in Kenya and the region.
The CS also called on the stakeholders to commit more resources and effort to combat the growing threat of sandalwood trafficking networks in the region. She further called upon Kenyans and all state and non-state actors to rally behind the Presidential directive to grow 15 billion trees by 2032.
During the function, the Ag. Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr Alex Lemarkoko, commended and called for further collaboration among state, non-state agencies and local communities in the fight against the vice and forest resources protection and conservation.
He noted that sandalwood trafficking is an extractive environmental crime that must be stemmed out completely, reassuring of KFS’s commitment to protecting forest resources, including endangered species like sandalwood.
Also, present during the event, the US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, expressed the US commitment towards eradication of international illegal trafficking and trading in sandalwood, pledging to support Kenya in her conservation efforts.
Senior government officers attended the function Environment, conservation and security sectors, including the Director DCI Mohamed Amin, NEMA Director General Mamo B. Mamo, Representatives from the Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kenya Wildlife Service, among others.