UNEP, EU join Mau forest restoration

February 23, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23- The government in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme and the European Union has announced a multi-million shilling project to assist in the restoration of the north-western part of the Mau forest complex.

The project worth Sh224 million will support the governments\’ strategy to rehabilitate the forest, and secure services generated by the flows of the Yala and Nyando rivers.

These rivers, which feed Lake Victoria and are important for drinking water, also support 5,000 hectares of rice production which is a boost to local food security and the Kenyan economy.

The new project comes as part of the United Nations International Year of Forests.

"The EU and UNEP share many common priorities-from climate change and sustainable energy to environment and development. Sustainable management of natural resources, sustainable consumption and production and the Green Economy are among those key priorities," EU Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik said on Wednesday.

"Today we are also announcing support to the Government of Kenya, through UNEP, towards rehabilitation and restoring one of Kenya\’s and East Africa\’s key pieces of natural infrastructure. The Mau forest complex is a living example of where economy and environment intersects," he added.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner pointed out that the government had embarked on a remarkable transformation of its economy in which renewable energy and improved management of its nature-based assets were at the core of the Vision 2030.

"Realising that vision however requires the support of committed partners," Mr Steiner said.

"The Mau forest complex is emblematic of the challenges, but also the opportunities being faced by countries across the globe. The new strategic cooperation between the European Commission and UNEP with funding from the European Union will allow us to better meet the genuine aspirations of more and more nations towards their transition to a green economy," he added.

The project will cover the North West of the Mau forest where significant degradation of the indigenous forest, leading to conversion into grassland, had occurred due to unsustainable use of forest resources.

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