INBAR East Africa Regional Office (EARO) celebrated this year’s World Environment Day in Ethiopia and Kenya.
World Environment Day has always been a good day to inspire individuals and organisations locally and internationally to prioritise climate change issues and strive to achieve sustainable development goals. INBAR EARO organised activities to celebrate World Environment Day in Ethiopia and Kenya to promote the sustainable use of bamboo and rattan for environmental management and creating livelihood opportunities.
INBAR in collaboration with the Ethiopian Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EEFCCC), hosted an event themed Ecosystem Restoration with Natural Development in Sidama Regional State. The celebration focused on promoting sustainable consumption and production through influencing policymakers and stakeholders to prioritise the challenges of climate change. The activities included a half-day workshop and a plantation ceremony in the capital of the host region – Hawassa. More than 700 participants attended the event, including the governor of the host region, H.E. Mr. Desta Ledamo, and the Commissioner of the EEFCCC, H.E. Prof. Fekade Beyene, among others drawn from the Ethiopian parliament, government agencies, the private sector, INBAR EARO staff, and dwellers of Hawassa city. During the opening of the workshop, H.E. Mr. Desta Ledamo acknowledged the importance of bamboo for environmental conservation and livelihood diversification and the contribution of INBAR thereto. He also stated that the government of Ethiopia has already incorporated bamboo in the Green Legacy Initiative of the Prime Minister office.
The participants were happy to know that INBAR has been promoting bamboo as a sustainable non-timber forest commodity to create economic and livelihoods opportunities and, at the same time, restore and sustainably manage bamboo resources, so that they contribute to decreased deforestation, enhance carbon sinks and increase climate resilience for ecosystems in the country, especially through the Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme.
Kenya project team supported Busia and Kericho counties to honour the annual Environment Day through awareness events with bamboo seedling plantation. The office distributed and planted 1000 bamboo seedlings with the communities to enable them to improve their livelihoods and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Representatives of the National Environment Management Authority of Kenya, who were lead organisers of the celebration, appreciated members of the community for participation and acknowledged efforts of INBAR to help boost the bamboo sector of the country. The representatives reiterated the fact that ecosystem restoration requires a concerted effort to fight drivers of climate change and environmental degradation. Robert Sunya, INBAR Technical Officer in Kenya introduced the Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme and the role of INBAR in promoting bamboo in the country. He stated that communities should not only plant bamboo as a restoration component but as a livelihood improvement and diversification cash crop. He explained that “bamboo takes 3-4 years to mature compared to other tree species that takes years to mature, making bamboo a strategic tool for ecosystem restoration and livelihood improvement for communities”.
“bamboo takes 3-4 years to mature compared to other tree species that takes years to mature, making bamboo a strategic tool for ecosystem restoration and livelihood improvement for communities”.
The theme of the celebration was Act Now for Ecosystems and Livelihoods Restoration, and the effort exerted to mobilise participants was significant for communities to understand the role played by bamboo to improve their livelihoods and environmental sustainability.
INBAR also celebrated this important day for raising awareness and taking action with other initiatives in its Regional Offices in Cameroon, Ghana and Latinamerica. This year World Environment marks the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, of which INBAR is a proud partner.