Safaricom has partnered with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Wetlands International and other stakeholders in a bid to preserve the wetlands in Kenya.
Wetlands are areas of swamps, marshes, bogs, shallow lakes, ox-bow lakes, dams, riverbanks, floodplains, fishponds, lakeshores, and seashores. In Kenya, wetlands occupy about 3% to 4%, which is approximately 14,000 km2 of the total 587 900 km2 land in Kenya.
Despite numerous benefits provided by wetlands, they have been facing multiple threats from human activities across the globe.
Wetlands contribute directly and indirectly to the national economy through provisioning, supporting, regulatory and cultural services.
As a result of this recognition, the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has produced the Kenya Wetlands Atlas (2012) which maps the country’s wetland resources.
Safaricom brought together stakeholders from government, the private sector, non-profit organizations, and civil society, academia, and the media to discuss ways they can save the diminishing wetlands.
There is a need for awareness creation on the existing link between wetlands conservation and climate change mitigation. Climate change is a global thing, the need to understand the role each stakeholder could play and inspire action towards the preservation was important.
“Widespread destruction of wetlands, including coral reefs, is estimated to result in more than 20 trillion USD in losses globally each year, money that could be used to provide essential services to those who need it most.
So we are telling people that far from the perception that wetlands are unproductive and valueless, these ecosystems provide food, water, and livelihoods to millions of people around the world, and their conservation is a sustainable solution to climate change.” Stephen Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Safaricom
Some of the challenges facing wetlands include reclamation and encroachment for agriculture, settlement, and industrial development; invasive and alien species; pollution and eutrophication.
Other vital problems include challenges relating to conservation and management wherein ownership of wetlands, institutional arrangements and inadequate resources stand out.
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