The World Environment Day national celebrations was held on 5th June, 2024 at the University of Embu grounds in Embu County guided by the theme- Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience.

The Chief Guest, CS Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Hon. Soipan Tuya stated that in order to address land degradation and restore our ecosystems, we need to embrace tree growing and achieve the 15 Billion by 2032. She added that this will go hand in hand with the ecosystem restoration particularly adoption of wetlands by communities and institutions.

CS Tuya thanked NEMA for spearheading the "adopt a wetland" initiative where 60 wetlands have been adopted for conservation mainly by Universities countrywide.

Governor, Embu County, Hon. Cecily Mbarire who hosted the event emphasized on the need to collaborate to address desertification and drought in the County. She expressed her commitment to ensure environment is protected within the County.

The Government is determined to ensure that Kenya fully restores her degraded landscapes and ecosystems through the 'whole-of-society, whole-of-Government' approach where everyone has a role to play, guided by the 10-year National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, the anchor framework of the 15 billion National Tree Growing Programme. “But as the Government does so, it will not sit back and watch as a few people negate the concerted national efforts by continuing to destroy the little that’s left of our forests and protected areas by perpetuating ecosystem illegalities,” CS Tuya said.

She further asked people illegally occupying riparian lands, wetlands, forests and all other protected ecosystems to heed repeated Government calls to vacate these areas voluntarily before it is too late.  She added that the Government will intensify ongoing multi-agency security operation across the country to end all forms of ecosystem illegalities including brazen occupation of gazetted forests. At the same time, the CS applauded the courts, for recent progressive rulings that forbid illegal occupation of gazetted forests.

NEMA Chairman, Emilio Mugo noted that World Environment Day calls on the world to reflect upon pressing environmental challenges facing Kenya and the World. "Realities of land degradation and need to build resilience and restore landscapes to sustain life is critical. We need to revitalize our lands and the planet," he added.

NEMA Director General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS said that environmental protection is a matter of life and death. "We have to do everything within our abilities to protect the environment," Mamo said.

University of Embu has signed an MoU with NEMA to restore and rehabilitate Kiambuthi wetland in Embu town, Embu County. The wetland will be surveyed and fenced to stop encroachment. In the long, the University in conjunction with the County will establish a park as part of the restoration efforts. Kiambuthi wetland restoration was launched during the event.

During the celebrations, NEMA coordinated planting of over 10,000 tree seedlings at various schools and wetlands.

The event was also attended by PS Dr Esther Muoria (TVETs and CEO Smachs Foundation, Charlene Ruto who called on the young people to embrace bee keeping as a way of coping with desertification and drought.

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