NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has launched a national forest and
landscape restoration program aimed at restoring the degraded
forests and landscapes, a senior government official has said.
for Environment and Natural Resources Professor Judi Wakhungu
said on Thursday that the program is also aimed at addressing
climate change, conservation of biodiversity and improving food
“We are driven by
the urgent necessity to restore ecological integrity and
functions of degraded forests and landscapes which has
significantly lost their capacity to support livelihoods,
environmental conservation and economic development,” Wakhungu
The launch makes
Kenya the first African country to have comprehensive national
restoration opportunity assessment.
It is expected that
the move will inform commitments to the Bonn Challenge that is
aimed at restoring 150 million hectares of land around the world
Kenya’s move is
widely seen by experts as an opportunity towards meeting the
African Resilient Landscapes Initiative, an initiative that
targets to promote integrated landscape management by adapting
to and mitigating climate change.
Wakhungu, Kenya has already committed 5.1 million hectares of
deforested and degraded forests and other landscape restorations
by the year 2030.
This target is
expected to increase Kenya’s total tree cover by nine percent,
bringing the total tree cover of the country over the
There are also plans
for afforestration, rehabilitation of natural forests buffer
zones along water bodies and wetlands and planting of commercial
trees and bamboo plantations in unstocked forests that will be
done on 7.6 million hectares of land.
Under this scenario,
carbon sequestration potential is expected to increase by more
than 260 Mt CO2 by 2063.
According to Dr.
Kitty Van Der Heidjen, Africa Director of World Resources
Institute, an independent think tank on environment, land
degradation is hindering Africa’s sustainable economic
development and its resilience to climate change.
He however said that
the trend can be reversed since the continent has 700 million
hectares of degraded land that is the largest restoration
opportunity of any continent in the world.
“We have to make
decisions based on scientific evidence to help reverse and
restore landscapes,” she noted.
senior programs officer at the United Nations Environment
Programme disclosed that the Global Environmental Facility has
earmarked 53 million U.S. dollars to support Africa’s
Sustainable Development Goals and environmental conservation
He called on
countries to honor their international environmental commitments
to be able to attract additional funding.