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Kenya lauded for 50 million trees initiative

COUNTIES
By Abigael Sum and Nyambega Gisesa | October 29th 2013

By Abigael Sum and Nyambega Gisesa

Kenya: The United Nations has praised Kenya’s plans to plant 50 million trees as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

“The idea to plant one million trees to commemorate each year of independence is remarkable,” UN Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson told The Standard yesterday.

Eliasson spoke to The Standard during the Global South-South Expo where hundreds of high-level delegates from over 150 countries gathered to discuss development challenges by exchanging solutions created in the global south.

During the expo, African countries were urged to speed up efforts to eradicate poverty while at the same ensuring environmental sustainability.

Devolution Secretary Anne Waiguru said there is need to embrace a green economy for improved well-being and social equity.

“We can have sustainable growth with poverty reduction without endangering our environmental heritage today or in the future. Vision 2030 is based on a low-carbon, sustainable and climate resilient development pathway,” she said.

The Global South-South Expo being held for the first time in a developing country,  will showcase innovative local solutions to the complex challenges facing the South by over 70 exhibitors in interactive booths.

The event is being hosted by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

The expo is the first major international conference to take place in Nairobi since the Westgate siege.

During the event, Waiguru noted that Kenya is working on becoming a low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive economy by heavily investing in geothermal, wind and solar power to reduce dependence on hydro-electric power.

“Africa is the most vulnerable region to climate change hence we must address growth side by side with an environmental sustainability model,   as well as greater regional integration,” she said.

Waiguru was speaking on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta who is currently in Kigali, Rwanda, attending the third tripartite Infrastructure Summit.

The Cabinet Secretary added that Kenya is keen on expanding cooperation with other countries in Africa, Asia, Pacific Latin America and the Caribbean.

Healthy balance

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero reiterated the need to sustain a healthy balance between the environment and the ever rising development needs.

He said since the global south bears the greatest brunt of climate change, the initiative to convert the threat into a promise of sustainable development must be domestic.

“Our pursuit of development must seek not to dominate nature and the environment but should instead be anchored on an unshakeable need for balance with the natural environment,” said Kidero.

He added that a green economy seeks to drive growth by shifting investments towards clean and efficient technologies, natural capital and social infrastructure.

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