On 26th May 2021, KEPSA Trustee Dr. Vimal Shah together with KEPSA Deputy CEO Ms. Martha Cheruto, participated in the virtual Private Sectors Roundtable on the 2 billion tree planting campaign to accelerate the achievement of the 10% tree cover by 2022. The forum was chaired by the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Dr. Christ Kiptoo and Principal Secretary, National Treasury and Planning Dr. Julius Muia.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Kiptoo said that Kenya has made international commitments with respect to forest cover, restoration of degraded lands, biodiversity and climate change. Dr. Kiptoo went on to say that there was a need to go green in diversified ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. He added that it was imperative to bring everyone on board in a coordinated manner to enhance data collection and combined effort for reporting on progress. Post- Covid measures for green recovery by the government include strengthening support for KEFRI to establish 18 seed centers from the current 6.
On his part, Dr. Muia reiterated the significance of public-private partnerships in the mobilization of resources toward increasing the country’s tree cover. He challenged the participants to go beyond the 2 billion trees as that is the bare minimum for 10% and raise the aspiration to 5 billion trees grown in the next two years. He also called upon the adoption of the value chain approach and circular economy to tree planting in order to identify and develop sustainable interventions at each stage of the value chain.
The Head of Forestry Conversation Directorate at the Ministry of Environment & Forestry, Mr. Alfred Gichu highlighted the National Strategy for Achieving and Maintaining Over 10% Tree Cover by 2022 which estimated that the country needs to plant and grow 2 billion seedlings between the year 2019-2022 translating to an average of 360 million seedlings every year, to meet this ambitious target. The strategy also entails protecting natural forests and water towers, rehabilitating degraded forest areas and mangroves, development of commercial forestry, restoration of degraded landscapes in the ASAL regions, greening of infrastructure and urban areas, adoption of forests among others.
Given the time frame and amount of resources required, there has been a need for radical action to accelerate the achievement of this target, and therefore the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is calling for a broad institutional and multi-stakeholder participation in accelerating the achievement of the 10% tree cover.
Dr. Shah called for a unified approach towards increasing the forest cover and the need to create ownership for all and by all. The KEPSA Deputy CEO reiterated KEPSA’s commitment to sustainability while adding that KEPSA would support in strengthening collaboration between government and private sector through regular roundtables to develop the 5 billion tree action plan, support review and progress towards the target.
The private sector was called upon to provide funding and enhance investments in forestry programs, implement land use plans and building codes, develop and implement innovative financing schemes for ecosystem services. Of urgency is the need to pledge towards the realization of the 2 billion tree seedlings required for this campaign. All pledges to be submitted through the respective business associations or to the Ministry by June 2021.