The National tree growing day was held on Monday, 13th November, 2023 at Kiu Wetland in Makueni County and in the 47 Counties coutrywide.
The exercise that kicked off countrywide is a government initiative in hope of planting 15 billion trees by 2032 to tackle climate change crisis and deforestation amid worsening impacts such as severe drought in the country and the wider Horn of Africa region.
The event was officiated by H.E President Dr. William Ruto, E.G.H on Monday, 13th November, 2023.
The Government of Kenya led by His Excellency President committed to increase the country's tree cover to over 30% by the year 2032 by growing 15 Billion trees as a way of mitigating the adverse effects of climate change
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) through its County Directors of Environment worked closely with County Environment Committees and County Commissioners and indentified critical wetlands in the 47 Counties for restoration activities. The Authority also mobilized stakeholders in other Counties countrywide to participate in tree growing activities.
As part of the 15bn national tree growing programme, the Ministry is implementing a comprehensive wetlands restoration strategy that will see the Ministry, through NEMA, identify and gazette wetlands and key water catchments across the country. The National Wetlands Restoration Strategy has mapped out critical wetlands across the country to be rehabilitated and restored as a progress towards growing of 15 billion Trees by 2032.
In line with the National Wetlands Restoration Strategy, NEMA in collaboration with the Makueni County Government has identified five wetlands which are earmarked for gazettement including Kiu wetland.
According to the CS Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Hon. Soipan Tuya CBS, the Ministry has identified wetlands as having very high potential for ecosystem restoration including tree growing and support for livelihoods because of the all-year availability of water.
Countrywide, over 150 million tree seedlings were planted.
Over 120 ,000 tree seedlings were planted at Kiu Wetland.
During the event, the Head of State reiterated his call to Kenyans to conserve their forests and wetlands in order to sustain the livelihoods of the local communities and stabilise the environment whose deterioration he noted will be devastating to the country. The President said that conservation of the environment and especially forests would ensure adequate provision of water which will boost food production even in the arid and semi arid areas of the country.
The CS on her part said that her Ministry working with all stakeholders including County Governments will collaborate to secure fragile ecosystems which are crucial for the sustenance of life. She called on the Kiu community to conserve their wetland saying that it was the only source of water for domestic use and irrigation in the area. All leaders agreed to work together to actualize the growing of 15 billion trees by 2032.
Encouraging public participation, Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has called on Kenyans to contribute to the initiative by planting at least two seedlings each during the exercise.
“Please take part in this noble cause because it benefits us all,” she said.
While promoting the tree-planting initiative, Tuya urged Kenyans to utilize a mobile application called ‘Jaza Miti’ to document all tree-growing activities.
She stressed the step is crucial for the ministry to monitor and track the progress made toward the ambitious goal of planting 100 million trees on Monday alone.
All leaders agreed to work together to actualize the growing of 15 billion trees by 2032.