The World Wide Fund (WWF) has finally opened a fully fledged office in Kenya and registered WWF-Kenya as a fully recognized and Independent Non Governmental Organization.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Monday presided over the official launch of the WWF-Kenya as the NGO fully and officially entrenched itself in the country.
The new development comes after 55 years of conservation work in Kenya. WWF-Kenya is an affiliate to world Wide Fund for Nature –the world’s largest and most experienced organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s natural environment.
The Kenyan office now becomes the largest entity in the East African region. WWF has a presence in over 100 countries across the world to promote sustainable natural resource management.
The First Lady lauded the WWF-Kenya for being an unparalled catalyst for change in the area of conservation.
“We congratulate you for your decades of work as an influential conservation player in both in Kenya and in other parts of the world .Your new status as WWF- Kenya will add a voice to policy making, and the future direction of conservation in the wider global network”, said the First Lady at a Nairobi Hotel.
The function was attended by key personalities in the area of conservation, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, new Chief Justice David Maraga and Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) and Prof. Judy Wakhungu (Environment) among other Key government officials.
The First Lady said WWF-Kenya’s approach to sustainable development around environmental issues is a standard for today’s world.
“Such a robust approach recognizes and underscores one undeniable truth: no one can change a country or a continent alone”, said the First Lady.
She observed that WWF-Kenya works well with the Government, the Civil Society, Local Communities and a range of other stakeholders to move the country forward along the frontier of conservation.
The First Lady said the WWF-K had demonstrated its commitment to conservation by brokering partnerships between communities and tourist partners in the Mara region for the establishment of community conservancies for mutual economic benefits.
“It is therefore my hope that over the next 50 years, you will continue to bring people together to deal with critical environmental issues of our time” she said.
The First Lady who also unveiled the WWF-Kenya Strategic Plan said all forms of change are incremental, are realized over time and frequently accompanied by many setbacks along the way.
She said the Government of Kenya has put in place policy frameworks and continues to be an active participant internationally to underscore its commitment at all levels to fight illegal wildlife trade.
“I know that the partners represented here today are all working together with the Government towards ensuring a sustainable ecosystem for Kenya”, said the First Lady.
The new CJ said the judiciary is committed to fight all wildlife related crimes including speedier trials for poachers and apportioning proportionate penalties for culprits.
“We shall ensure all those arrested will not go unpunished”, said the CJ.
He said many conflicts, whether local or regional are usually associated with the management and distribution of natural resources.
Others who addressed the function included the Chief Executive Officer WWF-Kenya Mr Mohammed Awer, the chair of the WWF-K board Mr Isaac Awuondo, and the WWF Director General Mr Marco Lambertini.