Biodiversity conservation a balancing act for Kenya

An African crowned eagle

An African crowned eagle at the Nairobi National Park.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

At the heart of East Africa, amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Kenya, a delicate dance is taking place—a balancing act of epic proportions. It is a quest to safeguard the country’s remarkable biodiversity, ensuring that nature’s marvels thrive for generations.

Kenya’s commitment to biodiversity conservation is both a testament to its natural wealth and a call for action.

Biodiversity, the intricate web of life encompassing all living organisms, underpins the healthy functioning of our ecosystems. From the smallest microbes to the major wildlife and plant species, each species plays a unique role in maintaining a delicate balance of nature.

However, human activities, such as deforestation, habitat destruction, pollution, overexploitation of natural resources, climate change, and unsustainable agricultural practices, have resulted in alarming rates of biodiversity loss.

Species extinction rates are estimated to be 1,000 times higher than the natural background rate, leading to the loss of unique genetic resources and ecological services essential for survival. This loss disrupts ecosystems, diminishes their resilience, and threatens the survival of numerous species.

The urgency of the global biodiversity crisis calls for a paradigm shift from mere agreements to concrete actions. The Kunming-Montreal Framework, adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15), serves as a beacon of hope. This framework represents a global commitment to halting biodiversity loss and restoring ecosystems by setting ambitious targets and providing a road map for action.

Guided the theme of today’s International Day for Biodiversity, “From agreement to action: Build back biodiversity”, we must embark on a collective journey to achieve the targets and goals set forth by the Kunming-Montreal Framework. This pivotal framework lays the foundation for rebuilding our precious biodiversity and securing a sustainable future.

Collaboration and cooperation are imperative to achieve the targets and goals of the framework. The invaluable knowledge, expertise and resources possessed by various stakeholders are crucial for meaningful change. We can amplify the impact of collective actions by fostering inclusive partnerships and empowering grassroots initiatives. The government’s central role in enacting policies, developing strategies and implementing measures that prioritise biodiversity conservation is critical.

Recognising the vital role of local communities as custodians of biodiversity, their traditional knowledge and practices should be integrated into conservation strategies. Engaging communities in decision-making processes, supporting sustainable livelihoods and providing incentives for conservation efforts are essential to long-term success. Education and awareness are fundamental to catalysing transformative changes. We must cultivate a deep appreciation for the intrinsic value of biodiversity and the critical services it provides.

By taking action today, we can build a world in which all forms of life can thrive, and the beauty of biodiversity can continue to inspire and enrich us.

Ms Kerichu is a biodiversity conservationist. [email protected].