February 9, 2018
Margaret Kalekye, KBC Channel
See link for photo.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta met with members of the Nature Conservancy (TNC) Global board where she reaffirmed her commitment towards the conservation and protection of Kenya’s natural heritage.
She however emphasized the need for strong partnerships between stakeholders who share the same conviction to protect the world’s natural heritage.
The First Lady said Kenya’s pursuit for sustainable development requires diverse interventions to help protect the country’s natural capital- waters, forests, soils, marine resources and wildlife.
“This implies brokering partnerships between diverse stakeholders of similar conviction so that we can stand together in a cause we believe in”, she said
The First Lady met the board members during TNC Global Partners Dinner- that brought together various stakeholders- at a Nairobi hotel. The TNC team was led by its chairman Mr Thomas Tierney.
The First Lady is known for her passion towards the protection and conservation of Kenya’s wildlife especially the elephants. She is the patron of the “Hands Off Our Elephants campaign” launched in 2013.
That campaign received a major boost in May 2016 when President Uhuru Kenyatta torched 105 tonnes of elephant tusks-the biggest stockpile of ivory ever destroyed-in a strong statement against ivory trade and a message that Kenya would not support poaching of animal trophies.
The 60-year old TNC is a global charitable environmental organization based in Arlington, Virginia, USA whose mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
TNC’s Conservation efforts of the Earth’s natural resources and beauty are driven by its over 1 million members spread across 47 countries across the world, seven of them in Africa (including Kenya and Tanzania from where the TNC board was coming from) .
The First Lady lauded TNC board as an influential and consistent conservation player globally for over 60 years adding that Kenya was especially proud that one of its citizens-the late Prof. Calestour Juma- was a former board member.
“He will be remembered for the many lives he touched through his work. May his legacy continue to inspire us’, said the First Lady.
She said the 60 years of TNC’s existence has seen its commitment tested in different ways but acknowledged that the organization had met its global challenges with unassailable resolve.
TNC’s mandate includes implementing programs, rigorous research to inform practical interventions as well as advocacy to raise public awareness and lobbying to influence important policy change.
“Your comprehensive approach to environmental issues is a standard for today’s world”, the First Lady told the board members
For successful conservation efforts, the TNC partners with respective governments, the civil society, local communities and a range of other stakeholders to move countries forward along the frontier of conservation.
The First Lady appreciated TNC’s positive impact in Kenya through its robust approach, including financing and investment projects, that have stimulated the growth and economic livelihoods of communities in the coastal, northern parts of the country, Maasai Mara and Nairobi.
“I hope that this important Board visit leads to strong partnerships and prospects for the future of environmental conservation in Kenya, in Africa and the World”, said the First Lady
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala acknowledged the First Lady as one of the strongest faces against poaching and illegal trade in ivory adding that Kenya is fully committed to the war against the vices.
He said the biggest challenge towards conservation currently is the human/wildlife conflict being experienced across many parts of the country.
Mr. Tieerney called for stronger collaboration between nations to defeat poaching and illegal worldwide trade in animal trophies.