First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has reaffirmed her commitment towards conservation and protection of Kenya’s natural heritage.
Speaking on Thursday when she met members of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) global board, she emphasized the need for strong partnerships among stakeholders, who share a conviction to protect the world’s natural heritage.
The First Lady said Kenya’s pursuit for sustainable development requires diverse interventions to help protect the country’s natural capital including water, forests, soil, marine resources and wildlife. “This implies brokering partnerships between diverse stakeholders of similar conviction so that we can stand together in a cause we believe in,” she said.
The First Lady is known for her passion in protection of the country’s wildlife and is the patron of Hands Off Our Elephants campaign launched in 2013. The campaign received a major boost in May 2016 when President Uhuru Kenyatta torched 105 tonnes of elephant tusks, the biggest stockpile of ivory ever destroyed, in a strong statement against ivory trade and a message that Kenya would not support poaching of animal trophies.
The First Lady lauded TNC board for being an influential and consistent conservation player globally for more than 60 years, adding that Kenya was especially proud that one of its citizens, the late Prof Calestous Juma, was a former board member. “He will be remembered for the many lives he touched through his work. May his legacy continue to inspire us,” she said.
She also acknowledged TNC’s positive impact in the country through its robust approach including financing and investing in projects, which have stimulated growth of economic livelihoods of communities in the coastal, northern parts of the country, Maasai Mara and Nairobi.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet secretary Najib Balala acknowledged the First Lady as one of the strongest faces against poaching and illegal trade in ivory, adding that Kenya is fully committed to the war against the vices.
He said the biggest challenge towards conservation currently is the increased human-wildlife conflict being experienced across many parts of the country. TNC chairman Thomas Tierney called for stronger collaboration between nations to defeat poaching and illegal worldwide trade in animal trophies.