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Kenya says on track to combat desertification

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Kenya on Monday marked the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, with the country on track to combat the crises, having surpassed 10 percent forest cover.

Soipan Tuya, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, who led the celebrations in Laikipia in Kenya’s Rift Valley, said the country’s tree cover has risen to about 12.3 percent.

“This is a major milestone in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought. I have traversed the country in driving the tree growing campaign, and I can say this strategy is one of its kind in the history of this country in ecosystem restoration,” Tuya said.

The Kenyan government is currently running a campaign to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 in an effort to increase forest cover and restore ecosystems.

Tuya noted that Kenya has experienced some of the worst impacts of climate change, including heavy rains following the country’s worst drought in 40 years.

“The devastating drought caused severe hunger and suffering for millions of Kenyans, as well as the mass loss of livestock, which is an important source of livelihood for many of our communities. The drought also caused major ecological changes, resulting in the mass loss of our magnificent wildlife resources and exacerbating human-wildlife conflicts,” she said.

The official noted that in addition to the tree-planting program, Kenya has initiated various key policies, strategies, plans and legislation aimed at restoring its ecosystem and curbing land degradation.

“Science repeatedly indicates that unsustainable actions will fuel desertification and drought manifestation, and will subsequently plunge communities to further challenges if we do not act now,” she said.

Some 50,000 tree seedlings were mobilized for planting across the country to commemorate the day.

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