In honor of World Environment Day, SEI Africa led by Acting Center Director, Philip Osano, moderated a webinar organized by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) – a consortium of several organizations from 48 African countries with a shared vision to address climate and environmental challenges facing humanity and the planet.

The webinar focused on nature’s role in supporting life on earth and human development, and was co-organized by SEI and other stakeholders working on the environment and biodiversity, namely: World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and representatives from Kenya’s Council of Governors.

Biodiversity underpins life on earth and is the foundation for the economies of many African countries that are dominated by agriculture. It is also critical for food security and health of the populations in both urban and rural areas. Unfortunately, recent global assessment report by the IPBES points to rapid deterioration of our biological resources, with negative, often indirect impacts on our economies.

“As the world deals with the challenge of COVID-19, it is encouraging that World Environment Day 2020 provides a platform to create awareness among policymakers and the general public on the need to invest and conserve our biological heritage for current and future generations.”

— Philip Osano, Acting Center Director, SEI Africa

Kenya’s biodiversity is served by variable ecosystems ranging from marine, mountains, tropical, dry lands, forests and arid lands; Kenyan forests are endowed with a rich array of plant and animal life and some of the species are found nowhere else in the world. The webinar focused on threats to Kenya’s biodiversity and discussed concrete actions to conserve the country’s biodiversity.

What concrete actions can be taken to conserve biodiversity?

Philip Osano summarizes the webinar and actions that emerged:

  • Promote awareness and discussions among policymakers, and other stakeholders on the importance of safeguarding biodiversity to hinder environmental disasters, impacts of climate change, or health risks arising from lack of access to clean drinking water and health care services in line with the implementation of Kenya’s draft National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) by the year 2030.
  • Identify priority actions at the county level to be spearheaded by Kenya’s Council of Governors and implemented by the 47 County governments in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry .
  • Sharing of biodiversity conservation measures in Kenya and the region, including ongoing mapping of natural resources in Kenya by the National Land Commission and some regional initiatives supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP.
  • Discussions on the link between biodiversity and health, including in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Identify advocacy issues for civil society organizations to take forward.

Read more about the webinar.