• April 23, 2024
  • Last Update April 23, 2024 10:40 PM
  • Nairobi

Inter-Ministerial Agreement signed to attain tree growing targets

Inter-Ministerial Agreement signed to attain tree growing targets

Nairobi,

Wednesday April 3, 2024

by Joseph Kamolo Mutua

The Environment and Education Ministries signed an agreement on joint efforts to attain the 15 billion tree growing targets.

The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment Soipan Tuya and her Education counterpart Ezekiel Machogu signed the joint agreement during an inter-ministerial meeting at arboretum Nairobi to collaborate in the 15 billion tree growing program.

Owing to its strength in numbers, the Ministry of Education has 17 million learners at all levels of learning from ECDE to university and 600,000 educators in institutions of learning spread across the country targeting to grow 35 million trees and producing 300 million seedlings annually.

In a joint statement while addressing the media after a tree planting exercise at arboretum Nairobi, Basic Education Permanent Secretary Dr. Bellio Kipsang said the Ministry of Education is one of the key drivers of the 15 billion national tree growing program.

“The program is a Government flagship project on Climate action initiative anchored by the ten-year National Landscape Ecosystem Restoration Strategy that seeks to raise Kenya’s tree cover by 17.8 percent from the current 12 percent to 30 percent by the year 2032” Said Dr.

Kipsang adding that in total, the government seeks to restore 10.6 million hectares of degraded ecosystem and landscapes across 11 intervention areas.Arising out of the inter-ministerial meeting, the two ministries will enhance collaboration in tree growing by producing enough tree seedlings to enable the target of 300 million annually with site specific tree matching, through Kenya Forest Services (KFS) and Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI).

The joint statement by the two ministries seeks to integrate Ministry of Environment Jaza miti online application platform with that of Ministry of Education Elimu Trees online application to enhance recording and reporting of tree growing by learning institutions.

An award scheme will be developed jointly by the two ministries for recognizing the best performing education institutions similarly to designing innovative ways of resource mobilization for seedlings production and tree growing by learning institutions.

In the joint statement, it seeks approval from the national treasury to allocate growingly 5 percent of the Ministry of Education budget to tree growing activities and tap from Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) and donor support programs a dedicated line of budget as a component of the environmental activity.

Going forward, the two ministries will engage a joint communication and awareness creation campaign to inculcate a culture of tree growing among learners and environmental conscious like-minded individuals to partake in the much needed rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of nature.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu cautioned teachers against abuse of children rights by engaging them in excessive child labour warning that the Ministry has set a target of one tree per term per learner and anyone flouting the directive will face dire consequences for their actions.

“Much as the children would wish to take up tree growing, teachers should not allow them to excessively carry out menial work which impact on their basic rights, time and health” warned CS Machogu adding that children need to be in school to learn and play but not exposed to child labour malpractices.

He underscored that plans are underway to provide fencing and water at the targeted institutions that lack the commodities to provide protection and growth of the trees sustainably.

Ministry of Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya said the tree growing program is coordinated by her Ministry which uses a whole-of-government approach as a way to combat the climate crisis.

She affirmed that the Ministry of Education is one of the front line institutions of government owing to its network and numbers of learners, trainers and land across the country.

The Ministry of Environment will be engaging with other ministries and governors in each county in a rigorous fund raising to acquire the resources for fencing and watering the trees grown to ensure their survival sustainably.

CS Soipan observed that any funding sourced will be used to upscale the financing local led climate actions (FLOCCA), building the capacity of the existing institutions from the national, county up to the ward level for coordinated tree growing, protecting and reporting mechanisms.

“We want to tell Kenyans that tree growing is not going to be a pass time venture or a corporate social responsibility exercise but a full-time engagement since the environment is a matter of life and death.” Said CS Tuya adding that tree growing is a remedy for the cyclic droughts experienced in most parts of the country impacting on food security thus the need to act with speed before it is too late.

She invited everybody including the media to take up their targets by leading from the front since the exercise has no room to sit back and point fingers at the government because each and everyone has a responsibility.

The CS appealed to everyone to pride themselves in having at least ten trees or a tree nursery and extend it to the community to ensure success of the tree growing exercise.If you want to enjoy fruit and shade under a tree, the best time to plant is now!

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