Kenya has set up a global pooled financing facility to fund its ambitious and fast-tracked afforestation programme. President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 set an ambitious target pushing the attainment of 10 percent national forest cover as per the requirements of the constitution from 2030 to next year. With a forest cover estimated at 7.24 percent of Kenya’s total land area, against the recommended global minimum of 10 percent, Kenya is classified as one of the low tree cover countries in the world. The country needs Ksh48 billion ($432 million) to achieve this accelerated target. Kenya has already signed a Statement of Intent with the United Nations Resident Coordination office putting in motion a multi-partner trust fund (MPTF)—a global pooled financing mechanism—to raise money for acceleration of tree growing activities between now and next year. The MPTF initiative will make part of Kenya’s pitch at the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow, according to the Ministry of Environment. Dr Chris Kiptoo, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, while signing the document at an event that brought together the donor community as well as Kenya’s bilateral partners, said that the initiative will be presented to the COP26 conference next month with the objective of tapping into international green investment flows. Tree-growing fund The instrument is supposed to provide a flexible response source of financing for the acceleration of tree growing activities. “The objective of this tree-growing fund is to accelerate the attainment of 10 percent tree cover as per the directive of the president,” said Samson Toniok the chief executive of Netfund, which has been involved in preparation activities that birthed the MPTF. Between now and next year Kenya will have to produce more than two billion tree seedlings to meet the tree cover commitment. “I’m urging our development partners, to work with us in accomplishment of this target. The target is to do this in only one year. It is ambitious, but if we join hands we can do it,” said Dr Kiptoo. In addition to rehabilitation of gazetted forests, the government aims to restore more than 5.1million hectares of degraded ecosystems, in addition to the ASALs, which are seen as harbouring the most potential the tree-planting activities. Resident Representative for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kenya, Walid Badawi, said the UN family was encouraged by Kenya’s leadership in championing sustainable development. “This is an ambitious agenda but I believe it is doable if we put our hands together to ensure that we achieve this particular target to ensure we provide a better environment,” he said. UNDP has also been chairing Kenya’s forest donor working group to raise financing to accelerate the tree growing campaign. Several UN agencies including Unep and the Food and Agriculture Organisation are participating in the programme.
Source: The East African