Kenya’s ambitious goal to restore and conserve 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems was discussed in a meeting with the government and conservation stakeholders from many regions to share insights to shape the country’s National Restoration Strategy.
Addressing the stakeholders in Nairobi at the Kenya Landscapes Restoration Forum on Friday, 13 October 2023, Festus Ngeno – Principal Secretary, State Department for Environment and Climate Change, said: “Landscape and ecosystem restoration cannot take a silo approach. All ecosystems are interconnected, and interventions in ecosystems must speak to each other, and what more, partners’ interventions and activities must also speak to each other.”
During the two-day forum titled, The Kenya Landscape Restoration Forum – Opportunities and Challenges, representatives from various Government ministries, development partners and civil society actors shared the best models of landscape restoration and financing mechanisms from across Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Costa Rica.
The National Government seeks to achieve the 10.6 million hectares target through the 15 Billion Trees initiative, whose goal is to achieve 30% forest cover for Kenya by 2032 for biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability, sustainable livelihoods, climate resilience and social-economic development.
In her opening remarks, Silvia Museiya – Principal Secretary, State Department for Wildlife said, “We need to resit and rethink how we conserve our natural resources. When we talk about landscape restoration, I look forward to agreeing on the ecosystems that need restoration and who will do them to avoid duplication and wastage of resources.”
The forum was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, World Bank and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) under the AREECA Program and Local partners Tsavo Foundation and the Conservation Alliance of Kenya (CAK) to bring all stakeholders together to share insights, challenges and lessons learned to support the construction of a comprehensive and effective Kenyan National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Strategy.
Ms Ruth Tiffer-Sotomayor, Senior Environmental Specialist and AREECA’s Task Team Lead at World Bank, said: “This landscape restoration forum organized with the government and our AREECA partners main objective was to bring together the different stakeholders to share the work that we have been doing under AREECA and shared Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) investments on going in the country the GoK, Private sector, civil society and bring lessons learned of other FLR projects in other countries to support the government in the ongoing preparation of the National Landscape Strategy understanding in FLR investments.”
The World Bank team shared the findings of a preliminary study on the cost benefit analysis of different business models for sustainable forest landscape restoration interventions in selected areas of Makueni, Taita-Taveta and Kwale.
The Bank provided information about the degradation affecting these areas and the importance to target landscape restoration in this corridor which is a biodiversity hotspot area connecting the East and West Tsavo National Parks and an important water tower for lowlands areas. Some of the challenges noted included increased land degradation and human-wildlife conflict worsened by climate change.
The team from WWF, which co-convened the forum, shared insights on large-scale restoration based on experiences implementing landscape restoration with local communities in Amboseli-Tsavo sub-landscapes.
Johannes Kirchgatter, Officer Africa Projects, WWF-Germany, said: “This is a unique chance for a truly participatory planning process to jointly restore the fantastic ecosystems of Kenya in a holistic way. Addressing not only the precious water towers but also often neglected ecosystems such as savannahs, rangelands and wetlands is crucial to secure livelihoods, ecosystem functions like water flow and the unique wildlife of Kenya.”
Martin Mulama – Manager, the Southern Kenya Landscape Programme, WWF-Kenya pointed out that “Large-scale restoration approaches in Amboseli have provided best models for replication in other landscapes across the country. These interventions have led to successful restoration of expansive landscapes, including rangelands and farmlands, and contributed to increased involvement of local communities and improvement of livelihoods.”
The landscape restoration forum took place on the sidelines of the Global Landscape Forum taking place at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri, Kenya, where leading global scientists, activists, indigenous leaders, financiers, policymakers, the private sector, and practitioners in landscape restoration also shared insights on global landscape restoration challenges in response to extreme weather conditions and unprecedented changes in global climate conditions.
Alliance for Restoration of Forest Landscapes and Ecosystems in Africa (AREECA) financed by the Government of Germany, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through the IKI fund. AREECA has been implemented through the consortium of six organisations: AUDA-NEPAD, FAO, GIZ, and WRI. IUCN, WWF and the World Bank. The main objective of AREECA is to support and promote FLR-related activities in four countries (Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda and Cameroon) aimed to increase the socio-economic, ecological and climate-related benefits of restoration interventions in local communities.
About the World Bank
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
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