Kenya Red Cross Launches an Environment Restoration Programme

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The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) through the Ministry of Environment Water and Natural Resources (MEWNR) on 15th April 2014 launched the Sustainable Environment and Restoration Programme (SERP) at the Nairobi National Park, Ivory Burning Site.

The programme highlights four broad components (with sets of activities in each) for the ultimate realization of success. The first component will be at least 5 urban rivers restored, and at least 25 sub-catchments in counties planted with locally suited trees to promote ecological restoration and about 2.5 Billion trees grown by 2018. The second component will primarily focus on waste management with a focus on developing specific response mechanisms to various forms of solid and liquid wastes. Minimizing generation, reuse and recycling of wastes will be given priority as will the adoption of the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM). The third includes the dissemination of climate information and development of effective Early Warning Systems that will assist greatly in ensuring preparation and optimizing responses in likely disaster situations. The fourth aspect will concentrate on awareness creation to gain goodwill, opinion and engage in positive debate with the public as well as relevant stakeholders.

This initiative will contribute immensely to the attainment of Kenya Vision 2030 as well as, increasing capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change, combat desertification, forestall the occurrence of natural disasters (such as floods and droughts) and guarantee water, food security and livelihoods by conserving water catchments. This programme will complement various continuing efforts by government in the same endeavor.

In his speech the Director for IFRC Africa Mr. Alasan Senghore said that he hopes such an outstanding initiative will serve as a model for members across the globe, and that we will soon see more National Societies joining forces with their governments to develop and implement national action plans as ambitious as this one since communities united around local solutions can, together, make a global impact.

Also speaking during the launch was the Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme, Mr. Achim Steiner who said that SERP would benefit the government, civil society and people because it’s a long-term intervention. “Planting trees everyone can do, but we need to join hands and also ensure our water supply does not dry up”, urged Achim Steiner

On behalf of government the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Cabinet Sec. Prof Judi Wakhungu, said that there is need for a paradigm shift, to take into account the limits of the natural resources and reflect the costs and benefits towards transition to sustainable and inclusive development.

“Kenyans need to challenge themselves inorder to find solutions to conserve the environment. I must congratulate the Ministry for taking leadership and creating a policy framework through this programme and the KRCS will work to compliment the effort of the government to restore the environment. For all this to happen, we need ordinary Kenyans to do extra ordinary things,” said Dr. Abbas Gullet Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross and IFRC Vice President.

The Sustainable Environment Restoration Programme is a new and unique initiative and the first one of its kind where Government and the Red Cross come together to design, resource and implement an environment programme of such magnitude.