Experts drawn from different government agencies of the IGAD Member States convened yesterday in Nairobi to review the draft Regional Biodiversity Protocol and related strategies.
Addressing the participants of the four-day meeting, the IGAD Executive Secretary, Amb Mahboub Maalim pointed out that regional economic integration in the Horn of Africa would be realized through prudent management of natural resources and transboundary ecosystems. He went on to give example of cross-border projects and programmes, such as the animal health and pastoral conflict management in the Karamoja and Somali clusters between Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.
Amb Mahboub congratulated the members of the Technical Advisory and Programme Steering Committees of the IGAD Biodiversity Management Programme (BMP) for developing impressive regional policies and strategies to address collective environmental challenges in the region. He urged them to strengthen data collection and information sharing to curb these challenges and ensure implementation of the policies and strategies. Furthermore, he appealed for the establishment of a regional financing mechanism to actualize the programmes.
The Principal Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Charles Sunkuli officially opened the meeting. Reading the statement on his behalf, Dr Kennedy Ondimu stated that the review of the protocol and related strategies was a sign of high commitment to sustainable management of biodiversity resources in the region. While urging IGAD Member States to fully implement the regional biodiversity policy, the PS pointed out that the protocol would go a long way to ensure implementation with the supporting resource management strategies.
Among the draft strategies to be reviewed include the one to control and manage invasive species, conservation of transboundary wildlife and sharing of biodiversity benefits. The participants are also expected to review a draft strategy on domestication of regional, continental and global instruments.
In conclusion, the guest of honour reiterated the importance of rich biodiversity resource and ecosystems in the region for economic integration and development. He added that ecosystem goods and services regulate the climate and rainfall regimes, as well as the health and well being of the environment and humans.
The IGAD BMP organized the meeting that ends on Friday with the support of the European Union.
Source: Inter Governmental Authority on Development