Safaricom has announced a partnership with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Wetlands International and other stakeholders. This is in a bid to raise awareness about the urgent need to conserve Kenya’s wetlands.
Wetlands can be defined as ecosystems that are saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. They currently cover over 3-6 per cent of Kenya’s total land mass. These crucial ecosystems are responsible for supporting diverse aquatic and terrestrial life, as well as economic activities like farming, fishing and tourism.
However, in the last century, wetlands have come under threat from human activities around the world. Currently, there are now just over 2,000 designated Ramsar sites (these are wetlands designated as being of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wise Use of Wetlands) left in the world. These cover an area of approximately two million hectares and represents a 64-71 per cent decline in wetlands globally.
Towards this agenda, Safaricom had organized a forum to bring together stakeholders from the private sector, government, civil society and non-profit organisations, academia and the media. This was in a bid to raise awareness about the linkage between wetlands conservation and climate change mitigation. It also aimed at creating a greater understanding of the different roles stakeholders can play and inspire action towards global climate change action.
Speaking at the forum, Stephen Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Safaricom, had this to say, “Widespread destruction of wetlands, including coral reefs, is estimated to result in more than 20 trillion USD in losses globally each year, money that could be used to provide essential services to those who need it most. So we are telling people that far from the perception that wetlands are unproductive and valueless, these ecosystems provide food, water and livelihoods to millions of people around the world, and their conservation is a sustainable solution to climate change.”