NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s tourism ministry on Tuesday evening launched a National
Wildlife Strategy to boost the country’s conservation efforts.
President William Ruto told journalists in Nairobi that wildlife and habitats
face threats from climate change, increasing human population, pollution and
"The strategy provides a roadmap to guide the protection and conservation of
wildlife resources," Ruto said.
He said the strategy also outlines a vision for wildlife conservation as part
of a strong environmental foundation for achieving Kenya’s sustainable
The deputy president noted that Kenya’s rich biodiversity is the backbone of
the country’s tourism industry.
According to the senior official, the country’s iconic wildlife and the
diverse conservation areas are among the countries’ most valuable assets.
He observed that besides producing direct economic benefits, the wildlife
habitats and conservation areas including terrestrial and marine national parks
and reserves, sanctuaries and conservation are also vital for water catchment,
carbon sequestration, fresh air and recreation.
Ruto said that at the coastal region, rapid land use changes are affecting
coral reefs, mangroves and the long-term ecology of the area.
"Similarly, our lakes are threatened by eutrophication, invasive species and
over exploitation of fish stocks," he said.
Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary Tourism and Wildlife Ministry, said the
strategy will transform wildlife conservation to ensure it contributes to the
country’s economic growth.
Balala noted that Kenya has a unique diversity of ecosystems ranging from
mountains, forests and rangelands.
"Each of these ecosystems supports a diverse array of animal and plant
species, some endemic to Kenya and a range of services essential to our
prosperity and wellbeing as individuals, communities, and a country," he said.
The CS said that 8 percent of the country’s landmass is officially protected
wildlife habitat through a network of national parks, national reserves, forest
reserves and sanctuaries.
He revealed that the formal protected area is complimented by a further 160
conservancies ensuring an additional 11 percent of Kenya is actively managed for
Balala said that despite these efforts in conservation, there are still large
gaps in conservation area systems especially in the marine and coastal systems,
urban and freshwater ecosystems where as much as 80 percent of Kenya’s fragile
freshwater and inland aquatic ecosystems resources remain unprotected.
He noted that increasingly, wildlife conservation will depend on weaving
together the diverse array of habitats and conservation models to create a
dynamic and resilient tapestry of interconnected ecosystems in support of
biodiversity and prosperity.
Margaret Mwakima, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Wildlife, said the
status and trends of all Kenya’s ecosystems shows a general degrading and
declining status of biodiversity.
Mwakima said that environmental degradation is adversely affecting the
livelihoods of millions of people and the country’s economy.
"This calls for urgent remedial intervention to stop the decline," she said,
noting that poaching and uncontrolled use of natural resources are key
contributors to the decline of biodiversity and wildlife.
She said that initiatives such as judicial reforms and engagement of
communities living near wildlife have helped to reduce the incidence of
Kenya planning land use policy to address
food security and environmental protection
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya
on Tuesday launched the national land use policy to help address food security
and environmental protection.
Deputy President William Ruto said the document will also address other
related concerns such as human settlements, climate change and economic pursuits
within the context of social, economic, political and other related realities.
"However, to achieve balanced economic development, it will take more than
the legislative framework that has been put in place, but rather a change of
attitude and approach," Ruto said during the launch of the blueprint in Nairobi.
He said the ability to manage diverse, competing and conflicting claims while
upholding livelihoods and promoting sustainability is critical for development.
"In order to adequately address matters connected with land, the policy is a
product of wide, comprehensive, patient, diligent and inclusive deliberations
and consultations," Ruto said and emphasized that consultation and participation
are not mere formalities or meaningless rituals.
The overall goal of the policy, which was drafted in 2016, aims at providing
legal mechanisms for utilization of land as the absence of a clearly defined
land use policy in the country since independence resulted in a disorganized
approach in managing the different land use practices and different responses.
Farida Koroney, the Cabinet Secretary for Lands, said utilization of land by
the citizenry is influenced by competing interests which results in conflicts.
"The rapid increase in population and the high rates of urbanization
continues to exert pressure on the scarce land resources in different parts of
"This has contributed to intense competition between different land uses,
resulting in various challenges related to land use," Karoney said.