(Xinhua) -- Kenya is
developing a comprehensive system on land based carbon
emission estimation to help account for carbon produced,
a senior government official said on Monday.
Due to the adverse climate change in the country, the
system will help in addressing challenges related to
tracking carbon mitigation efforts and also monitoring
permanence as means to ascertain the reality of carbon
being sequestered and avoiding leakage.
"The system will be instrumental in measuring,
reporting and verifying emissions that result from
changes in land use as measured under the land use, land
use change and forestry initiative," Cabinet Secretary
for Environment and Natural Resources Professor Judy
Wakhungu said while opening African Forestry and
Wildlife Commission (AFWC) conference in Nairobi.
Wakhungu said the system will be expanded to cover
other greenhouse gases and will lead to the restoration
of forests and other degraded lands through activities
envisaged by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
She said the initiatives are supported by the
national forest policy and forests act that have been
realigned to the constitution while responding to
climate change and Sustainable Development Goals.
Wakhungu called on African governments to embrace the
concept of sustainable forest management by using
forests in a way that conserves biodiversity, enhances
their resilience and releases their potential to fulfill
ecological and economic functions.
"This balance is critical to the survival of forests
and wildlife and to a larger extent, the prosperity of
the local communities," she added.
She observed that forests directly influence other
sectors of the economy and should be accorded priority
in central government budgeting systems.
Wakhungu challenged the delegates to take matters of
poaching and illegal trafficking in wild animals
seriously since they have implications for biodiversity,
ecosystems and national economies.
"In areas where stakeholder’s rights are respected
and where local people are meaningfully involved in
forest management decisions, chances of successful
forest program implementation is high," she noted.
FAO’s Director of Forestry Policy and Resources
Division Eva Muller called for the development of a
sustainable forest management framework programme for
Africa, adding that the continent faces both
opportunities and challenges.
She said Africa’s high dependence of its population
on natural resources to meet daily needs, forests and
wildlife are central to supporting and improving
Africa’s forests continue to face considerable
threats that range from conversion to agricultural land,
wildfires, overgrazing, logging, fuel wood collection
and charcoal production that are carried out without
proper attention to the capacity of the land.
This is however blamed for the diminishing forest
cover; intensifying erosion, lowering productive
capacity and increasing loss of biological diversity and
this continue to have a serious impact on national
economies in many African countries.
The African Union’s Commissioner for Rural Economy
and Agriculture Rhoda Tumusiime said even though
forestry accounts for six - eight percent of Africa’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), severe human activity that
includes encroachment is likely to derail the gains
She called on African governments to modify forestry
sector and incorporate eco-tourism to help create jobs
for the youth.
According to FAO’s 2015 Global Forest Resources
Assessment, African’s forests are continuing to shrink,
with some 14 million hectares of forest lost since 2010.
The annual rate of deforestation in the period 2010
to 2015 was 2.8 percent for Africa, many times more than
the world average of 0.3 percent.
But in the contrary, Africa also reported its highest
increase in protected areas in the last five years and
more countries are adopting sustainable forest