Mau Forest Appeal Brings Multimillion Dollar Pledges and Hope to Kenya

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Environment |

UNEP Pledges Support and Calls for Donor Action to Meet the USD $ 99 Million Target

Nairobi, 5 May 2010 – Donors Wednesday pledged approximately USD $10 million in support of the Kenyan Government’s appeal to save the vital Mau Forest Complex, at a Partners Forum convened by the Kenyan Government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The appeal, launched last September, aims to mobilize resources for the rehabilitation of the Mau, the largest closed-canopy forest ecosystem in Kenya covering over 400, 000 hectares – the size of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares. In recent years, over 25 percent of the Mau Forest cover has been lost to ecosystem encroachments threatening natural capital, biodiversity and livelihoods in Kenya and the region.

According to a Kenyan Government project document, over USD $ 99 million are needed to restore the entire Mau ecosystem.

A total of USD $ 7 million was pledged by the United States Government to finance a Watershed Conservation pilot project in the upper catchment of the Mara River. The project aims to help restore forest ecosystems and to create more secure land titles and better livelihoods for residents.

Meanwhile, the European Union is expected to contribute Euro 2.3 million (approximately USD $ 3 million) to be disbursed over a period of 36 months to restore the Mau Forest Ecosystem and create a sustainable basis for its conservation and management. The EU project aims to strengthen key capacities and develop innovative approaches in support of governance, livelihood development and ecosystem rehabilitation.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: “I would like to commend the Kenyan Government for the sensitive way it is handling the complex issue of resettlement and the involvement of forest dependent people in the process.”

He added, “I would also like to commend donors for having risen to the request for assistance. Together we have gone from the science, spotlighting the degradation of the Mau, through the economics in terms of what this large close canopy forest means to key sectors and the Kenyan economy as a whole, to beginning the implementation of restoration and rehabilitation.”

Kenyan Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, said “Kenyans have accepted that the restoration of the Mau and other water towers is a critical sustainable development imperative. Consensus has now emerged that the very existence of many communities and the welfare of the country depend on how we live with our forests and our ecosystems, and indeed how we address the key environmental challenges of our time.”

The Prime Minister added, “As we move forward to rehabilitate the Mau Forest, we are conscious of the fact that we have a duty to be sensitive to the human and social needs of those who must leave the forest. This is essential, because the sustainability of any rehabilitation efforts will depend on these very people as friends of the forest. So far, illegal activities have been reduced by an estimated 60 – 70 per cent in southern Mau.”

The Kenyan Government is undertaking the rehabilitation of the Mau Forests Complex in five phases, of which the first two phases have been completed. During phase one, 4,530 hectares of unoccupied forest land were repossessed. As part of phase two, an additional, 19.000 hectares were repossessed from illegal squatters by December 2009; a decision that was in keeping with the recommendation of the Mau Task Force report, approved by the Kenyan Cabinet and Parliament. Over 1,400 hectares of forest have been replanted and plans are underway to rehabilitate an additional 5,000 more hectares during the current rain season.

Prime Minister Odinga noted that the goodwill and commitment of local communities to the Mau restoration project have been crucial to the success of the project pointing out that, so far, up to 42 large-scale titles have been surrendered back to the Government without any demand for compensation.

The news comes as UNEP and the Convention on Biological Diversity launch on Monday a report entitled Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 in which the challenges and opportunities of improved forest management are brought in sharp focus in 2010 – the UN International Year of Biodiversity.

A report released by the Mau Interim Coordinating Secretariat in September warned that if encroachment and unsustainable exploitation of the forest ecosystem continue, it will only be a matter of time before the entire ecosystem is irreversibly damaged with significant socio-economic consequences and ramifications to internal security and conflict.

At the global level, there are increasing concerns over biodiversity loss and increased carbon dioxide emissions as a result of forest cover loss and poor soil and water resources.

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10 Responses to “Mau Forest Appeal Brings Multimillion Dollar Pledges and Hope to Kenya”

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I look forward to reading your blog, because its full of information that I can put to use. Thank you.

I am a Kenyan philanthropic Forestry graduate and would like to volunteer my skills in Mau Forest Rehabilitation.Please advice on how I can go about it.

Good Going for Kenya. My only prayer is there be a consensus between the government and the local citizenry.

If you’ve never been in a dessert, you might never know the real value of water. And not everyone has to experience something to know its merits or demerits. A wise society borrows from the experience of others. A wise society must know the value of its natural resources. And looking back, I think the traditional societies way back then seemed to know their role in nature very well. It’s as if they are natures keepers. They wasteful. The kind of society that John Lerato would be proud of.

If only modern society would borrow a leaf. I don’t know if it’s capitalism or self enrichment as the new laws but there is a trend towards just getting rich by all means, or die trying. And the environment is taking the biggest beating

I love forest etc. There was a good series on TV recently on the amozon. “Amazon with Bruce Parry”, well worth obtaining a copy if you are interested in global deforestation.

It shows the people that work in the forest and that how economic push them to destroy it, if the demand for rainforest timber slows then so will its destruction.

But FSC Wood, which is a good option at the moment.

great submit, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

we have lost a big junk of land since the time of the last regime and now let u not waste any time.All the stake holders who had fought over the Mau Forest issue from the begging should be involved in the Forest Concervatin and management with that money from the Donors to go to te right N.G.s,C.B.O s, to avoid misapropriation

Am glad as kenyan to see how th government is tackling the issue

[…] UNEP Pledges Support and Calls for Donor Action to Meet the USD $ 99 Million Target Nairobi, 5 May 2010 – Donors Wednesday pledged approximately USD $ 10 million in support of the Kenyan Government’s appeal to save the vital Mau Forest Complex, at a Partners Forum convened by the Kenyan Government and the United Nations […] Kenya Environmental & Political News Weblog […]

The issue of climate change cannot be taken little, it is something that should be carefully thought after considering man is living in the modern day at the edge of exploiting all the natural resources. I appreciate the much work you have put in collecting this useful information all on this blog.

I hope all the nations of the world will embrace the quick measures needed to avert a climate change disaster in a near future. I also hope Obama’s visit to Kenya will emphasize this issue of climate to the global citizen.

nice article, wonder what/is happening to mau forest, any new info?

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    A blog created to cover environmental and political information in Kenya with a view to promoting POVERTY ALLEVIATION through creating awareness of the Millennium Development Goals


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