Kisumu Woman Representative Rozzah Buyu has promised mangrove forest conservationists that the government will make policies through the National Assembly to protect and increase mangrove forest cover along the coastline.
Speaking at Gazi Bay South Coast in Kwale County, Buyu said that the government will work closely with the local community in ensuring it benefits from the blue carbon projects in undertaken in the region.
Buyu, a member of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), lauded the work done by government agencies such as KMFRI which through the Mikoko Pamoja Project, has helped the country spearhead the fight against climate change.
“Use of mangroves in mitigating climate change is very efficient and it can prevent the country from incurring huge costs resulting from climate change. Planting and growing mangroves is the best way of handling carbon in the coastal region, and the government will ensure that mangrove forests are well protected. We want to be role models on matters of climate change,” said Buyu.
The legislator noted that it is possible for the government to increase its budgetary allocation for these projects to cater to the needs of the community involved directly in protecting the mangrove forests. “When we empower the community then these projects will be successful,” added Buyu.
The government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is deliberating on the proposals made during the COP26 before coming up with policies and projects that will help in dealing with climate change.
The “Mikoko Pamoja” project that started in 2013 has over 10,000 hectares of land along the coastline of Kwale County covered with mangrove forest. The project is the world’s first blue carbon project that was recognized during the 26th Conference of Parties [COP 26] in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Assistant Director for Mari-culture Development Project in Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Dr. David Mirera said that the project is a game-changer in the war against climate change.
He said that similar projects will be initiated along the coastline in the country and the East African Region.
ICCF is a non-partisan educational foundation based in the United States of America with offices in Africa, Kenya and it advances US leadership in International Conservation through public and private partnerships.
ICCF draws its membership from the environment and natural resources committees in the National Assemblies of the member states.
Members of Parliament from Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique participated in the field tour to Gazi in Kwale County to see and benchmark on the progress Kenya has made on the planting and growing of mangroves.
Dunstan Kitandula, Tanzanian Member of Parliament from Mkinga Constituency expressed his motivation in the progress the country has made in conserving the mangroves at the Coast.
“As members of ICCF we are determined to tackle the hazardous effects of climate change and research has shown us that Mangroves can do that. As we have seen here in Kenya, they use these natural resources to tackle this problem. The benchmark was a successful one and we hope to replicate it in other countries,” said Kitandula.
According to Dr. Mirera, apart from the mangroves being a good climate conservationist, it can also be a source of livelihood to the community. The researcher said that the Gazi community received Sh2.5 million as a result of taking part in the Mikoko Pamoja Project.
‘‘There are many benefits the community could receive as a result of these projects. The carbon credits can help the community in finding other means of earning a living and desist from cutting down mangroves,” Dr. Mirera said adding the research institute will intensify research that will help the country in mitigating the effects of climate change.