Sat, 21 May 2022

NAIROBI, May 10 (Xinhua) -- There is a need for the sub-Saharan African region to initiate robust reforestation programs in order to boost response to the continent's ecological crisis, a Kenyan official said Tuesday.

Chris Kiptoo, the principal secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that Africa was in the grip of an environmental crisis that required innovative measures like reforestation to solve.

"Forests and land restoration efforts are the only capable approaches to securing our current and coming generations from these ravaging challenges," Kiptoo said during the launch of Forestry and Land Restoration Action for Kenya's Nationally Determined Contribution (FLaRAK) project in the capital, Nairobi.

Kiptoo noted that re-afforestation and land restoration efforts are proven nature-based solutions that contain the silver bullet toward helping the globe meet sustainable development goals. He said that Kenya is investing in the environment and forestry sectors because they are the foundation of a growing economy by supporting the manufacturing, energy, health, and agriculture sectors.

According to the official, the East African nation has set ambitious land degradation neutrality targets to achieve no net loss of healthy ecosystems by 2030 and restore almost 5.1 million hectares of land. And the updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) that aims at reducing the country's emissions by 32 percent, equivalent to 45MtCO2e, by 2030 had been prioritized.

Kiptoo said that FLaRAK, an NDC project, is expected to help restore and address forest cover and degraded land with the aim of enhancing tree and forest cover in the country.

Walid Badawi, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative to Kenya, said the world body is seeking to scale up support to turn NDC targets into concrete action in at least 100 countries.

Badawi noted that FLaRAK is aimed at supporting resource mobilization to help Kenya meet and even surpass forestry and land restoration targets, leveraging on available global climate finance as well as private sector capital.

Badawi committed that the UNDP will continue to support such efforts to sustain resilient forest ecosystems that benefit local economies, protect biodiversity, and address the root causes of climate change through technical advice.

He said that the UN will further facilitate learning and south-south exchanges, designing innovative finance platforms as well as strengthening governance in developing countries.

He commended Kenya for its efforts toward a greener and cleaner country, that is spurring massive reforestation and land restoration efforts nationally, even as the country seeks to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The year-long FlaRAK project targets three important ecosystems in Kenya that play an important role in the country's economy and provide critical services to sustain human life.

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