New Atlas Maps a Blueprint for Kenya's Green Development
25th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum 16-20 February
Nairobi, 13 February 2009 - Kenya's chances of realizing its 2030 vision will depend increasingly on the way the country manages its natural or nature-based assets, a new satellite-based atlas concludes.
Many of these economic assets are coming under rising pressure: from shrinking tea-growing areas to disappearing lakes, increasing loss of tree cover in water catchments and proliferating mosquito breeding grounds, environmental degradation is taking its toll on Kenya's present and future development opportunities.
Thus improved and more creative management is urgently needed to translate the aspiration, to the realizing of Vision 2030.
These are among the key conclusions of the new 168-page Atlas produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the request of the Government of Kenya.
Kenya: Atlas of Our Changing Environment was launched today by Kenyan Environment Minister John Michuki and UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
It is the first-ever publication of its kind to document environmental change in an individual country, through the use of dozens of satellite images spanning the last three decades.
The request for the Atlas, funded by Norway and supported by the United States Geological Survey, follows the launch last June in Johannesburg of Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment at a meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment.
Mr Steiner said: "The Kenya Atlas shows both the diversity and the fragility of the country's natural assets which are at the heart of the nation's socio-economic development. It highlights some success stories of environmental management around the country, but it also puts the spotlight on major environmental challenges including deforestation, soil erosion and coastal degradation."
"The Atlas makes a strong case that investments in green infrastructure within a Green Economy can bring it closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Atlas is for the government and for all Kenyans who want to see transformational change and a path out of poverty to prosperity by sustainably realizing this country's true development potential," he added.