Wajir(Mogadishu24)-The Government of Kenya launched a nationwide tree-planting exercise on Monday to combat the effects of climate change, with the goal of planting over 10 million trees across the country.

The President of Kenya led the national tree-growing exercise at an event held in Kiu Wetland in Makueni County.

Cabinet Secretary for Interior, Kithure Kindiki, launched the National Tree Growing exercise in the Northeastern region, aiming to plant 300,000 trees with 100,000 in each of the counties of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa.

“More than 300,000 tree seedlings will be planted in the North Eastern Region, with a target of 100,000 tree seedlings in each of the three Counties; Garissa, Mandera, and Wajir. Each of the 441 Chiefs in the Region will coordinate the planting and growing of at least 680 trees in their Locations,” said Hon. Kithure Kindiki, Kenya’s Interior Minister.

The Minister declared climate change as a security threat, ranking it alongside terrorism, banditry, and other major offenses that pose a threat to national security.

“We consider and have defined climate change as one of the five major security threats facing our Country today. The perennial friction pitting farmers against pastoralists, often resulting in loss of lives, injury, and destruction of property, is a consequence of the scramble for limited resources due to climate change,” he said.

“The other four national security threats are terrorism, banditry and livestock rustling, trade, use and abuse of illicit alcohol, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and cultural, religious and political extremism.”

He directed government administrative officers to spearhead the exercise, and urged Kenyans to participate in conserving the environment by planting and growing trees.

“We have an individual and collective patriotic duty to conserve the environment and reverse the situation by planting and growing trees,” the minister said.

He added, “Tree planting and growing will be a national culture in the country, and all National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) are directed to spearhead it in their respective jurisdictions to save our country from the ravages of climate change, including droughts and floods.”

This exercise follows the declaration by the Minister of Interior, designating November 13 as an annual public holiday for the nationwide tree-planting exercise, in a Gazette notice issued on Monday last week.

“In the exercise of powers conferred by section 3 of the Public Holiday Act, the Cabinet Minister for Interior and National Administration declares Monday, November 13, 2023, a public holiday in which the public shall be engaged in tree growing countrywide,” read the gazette notice.

“The exercise is part of Kenya’s Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme – Towards the growing of fifteen (15) billion trees,” it added.

Kenya has experienced the impacts of climate change, with droughts and floods affecting various regions, particularly Northeastern, Eastern, Rift Valley, and Western regions. These climatic challenges have had huge implications, especially for pastoralist communities.

In September, the Government of Kenya launched electric motorbikes in an effort to enhance Kenya’s climate change action by adopting low-carbon and efficient transportation systems.

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