Kenya has pledged to promote policies frameworks, strategies and actions to combat desertification, a senior government official said Friday.
Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Professor Judi Wakhungu said the government in collaboration with stakeholders has been fast tracking the implementation of the National Climate Change Response Strategy as well as the National Climate Change Action Plan.
“These initiatives are meant to contribute to mitigating the adverse impacts of changing ecological conditions that promote desertification in Kenya,” Wakhungu said in a statement released on Friday to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification.
This year’s slogan is “Our Land-Our Home-Our Future” and aims to draw global attention to the central role productive land can play in promoting communities and nations that are stable, secure and sustainable.
World Day to Combat Desertification has been commemorated since 1995.
Wakhungu said desertification and land degradation are major challenges to sustainable development and can be effectively tackled through collaborative efforts involving governments, private sector, local communities and other stakeholders at the national and local levels.
She said that developing countries including Kenya almost entirely depend on land-based natural resources for supporting their economies.
The CS said such degraded landscapes slowly take the shape of deserts and reduce their productivity to levels barely capable for supporting ecosystem services and community livelihoods.
Kenya signed to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in October 1994 and ratified in June 1997.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Charles Sunkuli said communities are forced to move to more habitable and productive environments, once they are faced with hostile and unproductive ecological conditions.
Sunkuli said that Kenya is largely an arid and semi-arid lands country, and only about 20 percent of its land is considered high potential.
The PS said the arid and semi-arid provide over 13 million people with limited opportunities for livelihoods.
He noted that during severe drought, the arid lands become desert lands and barely support communities who are forced to migrate to more suitable lands. Enditem