NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Cases of poaching and deforestation have reduced by 50 percent this year compared to 2013, according to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu.
Wakhungu credits the reduction to the collaboration between the ministry and partners like Monitoring for Environment for Security in Africa (MESA) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) enabling them to deployment of open source land mapping tools that enable better use of freely available satellite information for natural habit conservation assessment.
“Before this, my office and team members had to travel physically to protected area which took several days and incurred huge costs. Thanks to MESA projects, Kenya Wildlife Service can now get snapshots of satellite images of the protected areas on a single page,” said Wakhungu.
She was speaking at the 1st Monitoring for Environment and Security Forum that opened in Nairobi Monday and runs for four days.
The forum is examining how earth observation data through the MESA Project supports policy, planning and decision making at the national, regional and continental level in Africa.
The forum has the theme “Streamlining MESA products and services towards the decision-making cycle in support of sustainable environmental management” and is organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) together with IGAD and the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources with the support of the European Union.
It has brought together 250 international delegates comprising decision and policy makers, planners, earth observation data users and experts from across the continent.
Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, said: “By enhancing access to and exploitation of relevant Earth Observation applications at continental, regional and national levels, the MESA Project contributes to the increase of information management, decision-making and planning capacity of African institutions mandated for agriculture, environment, climate, fisheries, food security and related responsibilities. This is critical for African regional integration.”