Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has challenged Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) to ensure they meet the 10 percent global minimum recommended forest coverage by 2022.
Tobiko, who made the remarks Thursday during the inauguration of the third KWTA board said the President had purposed to attain a green legacy and meeting the 10 per cent coverage was crucial.
He therefore directed staff under the ministry to step up forest conservation activities towards the same.
In the process, the conservation will also support the big four agenda, especially food security through regulating climate change for improved food production.
“I urge you to focus on your roles and purpose to contribute to attain this proposition of a 10 percent forest coverage up from the current 7.2 percent,” he told the newly inaugurated agency.
The CS further instructed the KWTA board members to use their knowledge and mechanisms to protect water towers so that they can continue serving Kenyans as it is their responsibility to oversee, protect, rehabilitate and preserve the environment.
“I encourage you to work as a team and with other organizations including the government to ensure deliverance of your role as it is the ministry’s expectation,” he emphasized.
Tobiko noted that they are in the process of planting 1.8 million tree seedlings to support conservation activities in order to reach the 10 percent forest coverage in Kenya before 2022.
He challenged the agency to specifically ensure that the water towers remained intact, lest the country faces severe drought as experienced last year leading to food insecurity.
The CS also emphasized on the Mau issue saying that it has not been resolved as it should be by the coordinating agency which is the KWTA.
“Last year, we managed to reclaim 13 acres of land from the Maasai who are the principal offenders and at the moment I have written to the Director of public prosecutions to ensure that they are apprehended,” he pointed out.
Tobiko therefore directed the KWTA to move into the Mau forest and investigate more on the issue to ensure that it is fully reclaimed, adding that the agency has full support from the government.
He added that people in the Mau forest should move out without asking for compensation. “Let us ensure that we do not mix politics with matters environment,” he added.
Speaking during the same ceremony, the water agency Acting Director Julius Malombe appreciated the support accorded to to them by the CS in their effort to have a policy and a draft water tower bill that he said was underway.
KWTA is a state corporation under the ministry of Environment and forestry established in 2012 through Kenya Gazette Supplement No 27 Legal Notice No 27 of 20th April 2012 with a mission to sustainably manage water towers and their ecosystems through coordination and conservation for socio economic development.
Its mandate is to coordinate and oversee the protection, rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of all critical water towers in Kenya.