PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILDLIFEDIRECT JOINS DOZENS OF ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS AND PROFESSIONALS IN CALLING FOR MP’S TO REJECT PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE FOREST ACT, 2018
Nairobi, January 20th, 2022: WildlifeDirect is calling on the Members of Parliament and all citizens to say NO to a Bill mooted by the National Assembly’s Procedure and House Rules Committee that proposes to repeal section 34 (2A) of the Forestry Act 2018 that was inserted through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2018. The Bill is set for debate in Parliament on 25th January 2022.
Passing this Bill will remove the powers vested on Kenya Forest Service on matters related to boundary variation of public forests. This will no doubt lead to the destruction of Kenya’s protected forests, and indeed the aspirations of the forestry sector.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has worked hard to restore forests, and reclaim forest land that has been illegally grabbed by powerful individuals. These powerful people have in recent months even resorted to murdering forest defenders to have their way.
This Forest Bill appears to be another strategy to water down the powers of the Ministry and the forest protection agency.
Forests are vital bastions of biodiversity, are critical for climate resilience, produce water for drinking, farming and energy production. Kenya included forest protection in the constitution as a reflection of the political and economic value of forests to the nation.
“I am personally astounded that any right-thinking person would consider submitting or supporting such an amendment. It will open the door to forest destruction after decades of hard work by the agencies, communities and NGO’s to increase forest cover as committed to in our constitution. One can only read mischief in such a motion with elections around the corner. At risk are indigenous forests and the biodiversity therein, the integrity of our water towers, generation of hydropower and productivity of our farms. The environmental experts of Kenya and the conservation community call on all citizens of Kenya to reach out to their MP’s to wholeheartedly and aggressively reject this heinous bill. SHAME ON THE PROPONENTS OF THIS BILL.” says Dr. Paula Kahumbu, WildlifeDirect’s CEO.
Any changes to the Forest Act that facilitate variation of boundaries by avoiding the forest protection agency will spell doom for our forests and will send a clear message to other sectors such as wildlife.
Parliament must defend Kenya’s natural capital for the health and wealth of this and all future generations.
Please share this message and ask your MP to vote NO on the Forest Bill on 25th February 2022.
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Notes for editors:
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*This press release has been updated to reflect that the Bill to repeal section 34 (2A) of the Forestry Act which was inserted through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2018 was tabled by the National Assembly’s Procedure and House Rules Committee Chair Hon. Moses Cheboi and not Langata MP Hon. Nixon Korir as earlier stated.
WildlifeDirect is internationally recognized as a high impact Kenyan based organization that seeks to change hearts, minds and laws so that Africa’s wildlife endures forever. The mission of WildlifeDirect is to connect people to their wildlife and nature and inspire them to treasure it and act to conserve it. The organization produces Wildlife Warriors, a popular wildlife TV series about our wildlife heroes and heroines, and the animals that they are saving. We aim to transform and catalyze the wildlife film making industry in Africa. The series is screened on national TV as well as in classrooms through the Wildlife Warriors Kids conservation education program.