On the occasion of World Wetland Day, GROOTS Kenya received an award from the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Hon. Keriako Tobiko and NEMA for spearheading climate change initiatives and environmental conservation efforts in Laikipia County
In Kenya, World Wetlands Day 2019 National Celebrations was held at Ewaso Narok swamp in Rumuruti, Laikipia county and hosted by National Environment Management Authority – Kenya Ministry of Environment & Forestry, County Government of Laikipia and non-state actors including GROOTS Kenya, IMPACT_Kenya, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Mount Kenya – Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP), Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Bobong Camles, Rift Valley Adventures, Maiyan and Wetlands International Eastern.
This 2019 theme for the World Wetland Day was “wetlands and climate change”. This theme is aimed at highlighting the important role played by wetlands, as natural solutions, in adapting to and mitigating the impact of climate change. Wetlands are particularly severely affected by socio-economic pressures and climate change, which result in the degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Ewaso Narok Swamp is a biodiversity hotspot and acts as a sponge, absorbing excess storm from heavy rainfall, flow regulation/flood control and soil erosion prevention. The wetland vegetation absorbs nutrients and toxic substances from inflowing water thereby improving the quality of water downstream. Ewaso Narok Swamp is currently facing environmental threats which if not abated may lead to its extinction thereby affecting the livelihoods of people who depend on Eng’are Narok river. Some of the threats affecting the wetland include;
- Human encroachment,
- Excessive de-vegetation of the wetland for cultivation,
- Heavy water abstraction for irrigation leading to reduced water volume in the river resulting in public and human-wildlife resource- use conflicts in the area.
In preparation of celebrating the World Wetland Day, GROOTS Kenya in collaboration with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), County Government of Laikipia, Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), Kenya Forestry Services (KFS), Wetland International and other Local CSOs held a 3-day camel caravan and community forum to sensitize the community on Sustainable management of natural resources and to engage with its policy makers in regard to wetland and climate change.
The caravan route focused on areas where the wetland has been threatened by human activity such as farming, deforestation, fish rearing, and livestock grazing. It is anticipated through creating an awareness community’s capacity to adapt to adverse climate conditions and sustainably manage the wetland area will increase.