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Kenya hosts biodiversity conference

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Updated Sunday, September 12th 2010 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Peter Orengo

Kenya hosts an international conference to review her wealth on biodiversity and create a comprehensive conservation framework.

The conference slated for September 15 to 17, brings together conservation scientists, planners, graduate students, managers and policy makers to co-ordinate species inventories and map Kenya’s biodiversity.

Conveners include the Environment and Forestry ministries, in partnership with African Conservation Centre, National Museums of Kenya, Department of Remote Sensing and the Kenya Forest Service.

Speaking at a media press conference, on Sunday, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director Julius Kipng'etich said participants would deliberate on how to improve livelihoods and sustain economic growth through better conservation policies.

He said this would be inline with Vision 2030 and the convention on biological diversity.

“The ultimate beneficiaries of the mapping will be Kenyans. It will encourage creation of more conservancies, which will bring income to communities endowed with rare species of flora and fauna,” said Kipnge’tich.

He said although Kenya ranks among the world’s top wildlife spots, little is known about the wealth of her animals, plants and habitats.

“The natural capital provided by Kenya’s biodiversity is the engine of our farming, ranching, fisheries, forestry, wildlife and tourism,” he said.

He said despite its importance, biodiversity has barely featured in Kenya’s gross domestic production.

“With the passage of the new Constitution, there is urgency to grant rights to citizens. We want to create county conservancies by 2030 to reach at least 50,” said Kipng’etich.

African Conservation Centre Chairman David Western said billions of shillings worth of Kenya’s natural capital is destroyed annually.

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