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Green Zones Development Support Project Phase II set to kick off

Green Zones Development Support Project Phase II set to kick off

By Michael Muratha

The African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in 2006 conceptualized an initiative dubbed Green Zone Development Support Project (GZDSP) to improve forest conservation and community livelihoods in the country’s five main water towers. The initiative ran for eight years and the initial phase concluded in December 2014. The project improved livelihoods and income of various communities living adjacent to the forests as well as promoted bio-diversity conservation in the Country.

Further, the project left visible footprints to the Service in terms of infrastructure development such as four resource centres that are currently housing four Head of Conservancies, vehicles for field offices and lorries and tippers for road units. Arising from the successes of the first phase, AfDB in collaboration KFS and the National Treasury are currently formulating a follow-up project, the Green Zone Development Support Project Phase II (GZDSP).

The phase II initiative is set to kick off mid next year (2018) with a main aim of conserving forests and improving community livelihoods for sustainable forest management in Kenya. The focus of Green Zone phase II will be in three water towers namely Mt. Kenya, Aberdares and the Mau. Fifteen counties namely Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Machakos, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Murangá, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nakuru, Kericho, Baringo, Kisii, Nyamira and Bomet will benefit from this initiative. The new Project has been linked to Kenya`s national aspirations, key among them attainment of 10% tree cover as stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya and Vision 2030, the Forest Conservation and Management Act of 2016 specifically part IV on community participation and Climate Change Act 2016. It is also in line with AfDB’s Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy 2017, the Feed Africa Strategy (2017-2020) and Country Strategy Paper.

KFS which is the lead implementing agency has already made tremendous progress towards actualizing the GZDSP Phase II. These include development of a project concept note, consultations with the various stakeholders including County Governments and Community Forest Associations, and intensive consultations with the National Treasury and AfDB.

A key milestone in the formulation process was realized with the fielding of the formal preparatory mission from 4th to 11th December 2017. The team was led by Onesmus Maina from African Development Bank and also included National Treasury and KFS officials. Speaking in Meru County, Mr Maina noted that the GZDSP Phase II will be an upgrade of the previous phase, and will contributed to forest conservation, community livelihood and food security. He added that the new project will use innovation and value addition to ensure beneficiaries reap more benefits and forests are well conserved.

Speaking at a wrap-up meeting with the mission at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources headquarters, the Principal Secretary State Department of Natural Resources Dr. Margaret Mwakima lauded ADB and KFS for the great initiative. She added that the country’s productive sector will only flourish if our forests are secure and conserved. She assured the mission that the Ministry was fully committed to support this worthy course.

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