KKL-JNF to collaborate with Kenya in forestation project

Among the multitude of challenges facing such arid landscapes are degradation, droughts, desertification and biodiversity.

June 29, 2017 00:50
2 minute read.

forrest 370. (photo credit: hadar yahav)


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Aiming to optimize the use of arid land in Kenya, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund launched a partnership agreement with the Kenya Forest Service.

The collaborative work, which will take place over the next three years, will focus on forestation and optimal utilization of water in such dry regions of Kenya, the partners said on Tuesday.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, signed a memorandum of understanding on the subject with KKL-JNF chairman Danny Atar at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

“The MoU between KKL-JNF and the Kenya Forest Service illustrates the great importance KKL-JNF holds as an international environmental organization in sharing its knowledge and experience with the world,” said Atar. “Through support in and development of arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, which suffer from a lack of food security, KKL-JNF helps prevent climate refugee emigration and radicalization in the area.”

As part of the agreement, which will involve exchanges of delegations and knowledge sharing, KKL-JNF and the Kenya Forest Service will promote a pilot project in forestation, according to a statement from the partners. This project could potentially be funded by a third party, such as the World Bank, USA ID or a UN organization, the statement added.

The memorandum of understanding has been long in the making, beginning with the visit of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Israel in 2014, the partners said. Since that year, KKL-JNF has been leading an initiative in Kenya called “Furrows in the Desert,” designed to develop agriculture in the country’s poorest district.

KKL-JNF delegations have visited Kenya to learn about the specific needs of the Kenya Forest Service and to lay the groundwork for this agreement, with the involvement of the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi, the partners added.

“As we are all aware, in most circumstances around the world, the dry lands ecosystems more often than not do not receive requisite attention as they should,” Wakhungu said on Tuesday.

Yet, dry lands, the cabinet secretary explained, are home to 2.5 billion people, or 30% of the world’s population, and cover more than 40% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface.

Among the multitude of challenges facing such arid landscapes are degradation, droughts, desertification and biodiversity, she said, adding that these lands are also home to some of “the most disenfranchised and marginalized people in the world.”

“As we proceed to implement the MoU, we shall come up with designs and appropriate mechanisms for restoration of degraded dry land spaces and the establishment of forests in the dry lands,” she said.

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