By Sylvester Okal

The World Environment Day is celebrated globally on 5th June every year. It is one of United Nations primary ways of raising global awareness of environmental issues and to help stimulate political attention, public action and personal commitment to environmental conservation. The celebrations serve to remind the public of their responsibility towards the environment and sustainable development also providing the opportunity to take stock and evaluate the scorecard on environmental achievements. This day is used as a powerful platform to accelerate, amplify and engage people, communities & Governments to take action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet. The 2020 national celebration was held at the shores of Lake Turkana in Turkana County. Then location of the venue was informed by the need to create awareness on the unique and diverse biodiversity around Turkana and the semi-arid areas of Kenya.


The celebrations in Turkana were led the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Hon. Keriako Tobiko. The CS was hosted by the Turkana County Governor H.E Josephat Nanok. The celebrations were kicked off by the launch of the door to door tree seedlings distribution throughout Lodwar and its environs which was to be done by Government supported by environmental enthusiasts and stakeholders for planting by residents and locals during these commemorations. This was immediately followed by a tree planting session where the CS and the Governor kick-started planting of 2000 indigenous seedlings at Ekalees Cultural Center.


Turkana County being the home of Lake Turkana ecosystem & the desert lake and Mt. Kulal both classified as endangered ecosystems, The CS was taken on an aerial tour to appreciate the Biodiversity around the lake and its environs.


Speaking during a technical briefing at the shores of Lake Turkana, CS Tobiko urged Kenyans to treasure the rich biodiversity in the country. He urged the people of Turkana and Kenyans at large to safeguard nature as originally purposed and sustainably live in it.

The CS reminded Kenyans of words by the Late Prof. Wangari Maathai that "Nature is unforgiving" hence reiterating that we need to join hands and conserve it. 

Also speaking at the briefing, Governor Nanok assured the CS of his county's commitment in environmental conservation. The Governor stated that gazetting of forests will be ongoing and projected that forest scouts trained by the County Government will work together with KFS officers to propel the forest conservation agenda in the county. He also noted that more resources needed to be channeled by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for combating Prosopis Juliflora which had taken over large tracts of land around the region locking out the community from farmlands and grazing lands.


The domesticated theme for Kenya during the celebrations was "Biodiversity For Sustainable Livelihoods" with the slogan Protect Restore and Conserve.


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