NAIROBI, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday pledged to support Kenya's efforts to improve forest cover and respond to climate change.
Walid Badawi, UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya, said the support that is domiciled in the agency's Climate Promise Initiative is expected to revitalize national climate change programs including tree planting.
"We are supporting Kenya because the environment and forestry sectors are the foundation upon which the performance of the key primary sectors of the economy is anchored including manufacturing, energy, health and agriculture," Badawi told journalists in Nairobi.
He said that the UN agency will rely on expertise across priority areas such as energy, forestry and water in helping the country achieve its goal.
Badawi said that UNDP will support Kenya to achieve its Nationally Determined Commitment (NDC) by providing practical guidance for adaptation and mitigation of climate actions and pave the journey to a post-COVID-19 low carbon and climate-resilient development pathway.
"As the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, UNDP will continue to support efforts to sustain resilient forest ecosystems to benefit local economies, protect biodiversity, and address climate change by providing technical assistance, policy advice, and governance support to developing countries," said Badawi.
He said that UNDP, through the forest carbon partnership facility, is investing close to shillings 400 million (about 3.7 million U.S. dollars) to boost national efforts to achieve reforestation goals.
"Globally, we have climate promised work plans with 114 countries making it the world's largest offer of support for the enhancement of countries' climate pledges," said Badawi.
He said that UNDP has successfully supported National REDD+ readiness processes in countries including Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.
Badawi said that forests are essential to the achievement of climate goals as they capture one-fourth of all carbon emissions.
He said that annually the world loses about 4.7 million hectares of tropical forest, while Kenya loses some 12,000 hectares of forests.
"This loss is often attributable to the development of infrastructure and other human activities," said Badawi.
He said that the UNDP is helping Kenya to restore forests and green spaces, expand fruit trees growing on private land and enhance governance of forestry resources.
Badawi applauded Kenya on the steps taken to facilitate the restoration of forest resources and increase the forest cover to the constitutional requirement of at least 10 percent forest cover.
Chris Kiptoo, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the government has developed an elaborate strategy that describes key areas of intervention.
"The strategy provides the basis for wider stakeholder's participation in accelerating government initiative to plant and grow trees to realize the constitutional target of 10 percent tree cover of the national land area and the presidential directive of attaining national tree cover to 10 percent by 2022," said Kiptoo.
He said that the ministry is reaching out to stakeholders to help build a strong partnership that supports massive afforestation and reforestation programs.
Kiptoo said the government has identified institutions with large tracts of land for the afforestation program as a way of improving the national tree cover. Enditem