A Regional Forum on African Initiative for Combating Desertification to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change in the Sahel and Horn of Africa has concluded today at KEFRI headquarters Nairobi. The 3-day forum is organized by MENR jointly with JICA (under the Capacity Development Project for Sustainable Forest Management (CADEP-SFM), KEFRI and Kenya Forest Service.
Delegates from 8 Countries Djibout, Ethiopia, Eriteria, Kenya, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan are participating.
Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu, accompanied by Dr. Margaret Mwakima, Principal Secretary opened the forum on Wednesday, February 1st 2017. The Project ‘African Initiative for Combating Desertification to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change in the Sahel and Horn of Africa’ was launched on August 2016 during the TICAD VI side event meeting, in Nairobi.
The Government of Kenya, Government of Senegal, JICA and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), agreed with partner countries and development partners to accelerate their efforts to make nations in the Sahel and Horn of Africa achieve sustainable development,” said Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
Prof. Wakhungu has urged Countries in these two regions to adopt an integrated and collaborative approach so as to restore and protect the environment through sustainable management of forest resources, woodlands and agricultural landscapes as well as to achieve the sustainable development goals.
The key strategy of Africa Initiative project, whose regional hubs are in Kenya and Senegal, is to share knowledge and experiences within and among Horn of Africa states.
Priority areas include: combating desertification, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss, energy and water conservation.
The 5-year initiative will promote measures for combating desertification thereby making nations and communities in Sahel and Horn of Africa resilient to climate change,” said Ms. Miura.
Consequently these initiatives will contribute to building resilience to climate change, improving food security mitigating poverty, insecurity and instability in these regions and the world at large.
“The project will achieve the goals through five components; one of them being regional cooperation which will enhance capacity for promoting knowledge sharing and transfer of technologies for strengthening resilience to climate change within the sub Saharan countries,” added Ms. Miura
“In Kenya the CADEP-SFM project is promoting sustainable forest management geared towards achieving the national forest cover of 10%, as envisaged in the Kenya’s development plans,“ according to Mr. Kenichi Takano, the Project Coordinator.
Activities of CADEP Kenya project will be harmonized with those of African initiative to encounter mounting development challenges and environmental deterioration.
The 3 day forum discussed development actions for implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as reporting.
In addition, the participants visited farmers in Makueni County to learn and share experiences, challenges and opportunities towards combating desertification and mitigating the negative effects of climate change.
Participants agreed on four key outputs namely: to increase means of collecting good practices and lessons learnt to improve knowledge sharing; develop and maintenance of a robust network among stakeholder – local and international communities; improve access to finance of partner countries so as to improve development effectiveness; and seek political support through awareness creation and approaching opinion leaders of higher and political level in each country.
JICA will offer technical support in addition to training in Japan for promoting the initiative and enhancing participant’s capacity for formulating policy to combat desertification,” said Mr. Yoshihiro Katayama, Minister Councillor, and Embassy of Japan. Other development partners that have shown interest in supporting the initiative include Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Global Environmental Fund (GEF).
Participants visiting Mr. Jonathan Kitukus’ Melia tree plantation and Mr. Jeremiah Ngayas’ hay production farm both in Makueni County to learn share experiences, challenges and opportunities towards combating desertification and mitigating the negative effects of climate change.