Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi has urged the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to intensify protection and rehabilitation of the country’s water towers.
Mudavadi said serious intermediate remedial action should be directed to protect the increasingly vulnerable Government’s gazetted forests.
He said the Kenya Water Towers policy and bill are being drafted to protect among other issues, protect forests.
“We have to align our policies to ensure that we consistently conserve, protect and sustainably manage our environment. Making investments today that will protect us and the generations to come in the future,” he stated.
“I impress on you to hasten and intensify protection, reforestation and rehabilitation of Kenya’s water towers. Sometimes, we mistake tree cover where we have achieved 12.1 per cent of the 30 per cent target with forest cover,” Mudavadi said on Thursday when he launched the Ministry’s Strategic Plan 2023-27 in Nairobi.
Statistics that show Kenya’s forests are fragmented across the country and combined, forests cover over 37 million hectares.
Out of those 37 million hectares, 2.1 million are woodlands, 24.8 million are bush lands and 10.7 million are wooded grasslands.
“We are at a meager 9 per cent forest cover, purely out of neglect and destruction. It is commendable what we have done to protect the Mt Kenya Water Towers. The annual community rehabilitation of Kaptagat Forest also requires emulating,” he said.
“The Kenya Kwanza directive on achieving at least 15 billion trees to have been planted by the year 2032 should remind us of an obligation that we have to undertake seriously as a country to ensure we are key players in the fight against climate change.” he added.
Similarly, he pointed out the need to accelerate the protection of the Mau Water Tower.
Mudavadi said these areas require fencing and security by enough wardens to protect these forest areas against human activity.
“I have been approached by these counties to patronize these mitigation activities through planned Marathons to fund afforestation. I ask for your support,” he said.
According to Mudavadi, Kenya is buffeted by climate change and has just been through a worst drought in 40 years.
As a nation highly dependent on agriculture and tourism, he noted that climate change is a priority and the country cannot turn its back on this, adding that adaptation and mitigation measures required, including early warning mechanisms are not cheap.
This, however, he said does not mean Kenyans should fold their hands and hope for the best.
“We must soil our hands today, to prevent catastrophes tomorrow. This is why I am impressed by details on intervention measures in your strategic plan, under the topic on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Key Result Area,” he explained.