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Comprehensive system will help track Kenyan carbon emissions

NAIROBI (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 livelihoods.

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 made.

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 management practices.


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