UNDP Administrator Helen Clark to Visit Kenya to Promote Wildlife Conservation
The UNDP Administrator Helen Clark will visit Kenya on an official mission to promote wildlife conservation on 29th and 30th April. The visit will coincide with the world's largest destruction of elephant tusks by the Government of Kenya. During her visit she will emphasize the importance of conservation and the role played by UNDP and other UN agencies to support countries in their conservation efforts. She will also attend a Giants Club meeting to discuss and identify global opportunities to curb poaching and trafficking of wildlife.
African countries are currently fighting to protect their natural heritage, including wildlife, which has traditionally made an important social and economic contribution. Kenya has a thriving tourism industry with over one million tourists visiting its game parks and wildlife sanctuaries, contributing close to 12% of Kenya's GDP and directly employing more than one million people. “The poaching and trafficking of wildlife is abhorrent and threatens to rob us of our common heritage,” said Helen Clark in an opinion piece for The Independent newspaper. “This multi-billion dollar worldwide trade is at once a security issue, an environmental issue, and a development issue - and is pushing vulnerable and endangered species toward extinction. At the current rate of loss, wildlife species like African elephants could disappear from the wild in our lifetimes.” Combating the illegal wildlife trade is central to making progress on the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. The new global platform for development recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is a global challenge that we must all work hard to achieve, and that maintaining the integrity of the natural ecosystems is critical for global development and poverty reduction. Goal 14 calls for the conservation and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. This goal calls for an end to illegal and unreported fishing, and destructive fishing practices. In addition SDG 15 seeks to 'Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss'. This goal has targets aimed at stopping the poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna. UNDP is currently supporting the Kenya Wildlife Service and local community partners, in the Amboseli-Chyulu ecosystem to invest in successful community conservancies' approach, in which Kenya is a world leader. Also, through the GEF-funded Small Grants Programme, UNDP has supported the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, a national network organization. The UNDP Kenya programme also supports the country to meet obligations to international environment agreements while enhancing the contribution of natural resources and the environment to poverty reduction and sustainable socio-economic development. UNDP seeks to realize this by supporting the government to develop appropriate policies, strategies, tools and innovative programs that integrate environment into national planning and budgeting processes together with promoting effective management of natural resources for production and income diversification. To do this UNDP Kenya has an environmental portfolio of about USD 82 million to be implemented in the next three years. UNDP also works with various global partners like the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the World Bank, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Asian Development Bank, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the World Wildlife Fund to enhance conservation and protection of wildlife through financial and technical support. Editor's Note: Helen Clark is the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and the former Prime Minister of New Zealand.