First Lady Rachel Ruto urges funding for nature-based solutions

First Lady Rachel Ruto.

First Lady Rachel Ruto waters a tree which she planted in Gigiri, Nairobi, on February 27, 2024.

Photo credit: Pool

First Lady Rachel Ruto has called for more financial support for nature-based solutions.

This, together with collaboration between science, policy and business, she said, will immensely harness the power of research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive transformative change and achieve environmental goals.

The First Lady was speaking at the Science and Business Policy Forum side event held on the sidelines of the sixth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) at UN Headquarters in Gigiri on Tuesday.

"Nature-based solutions, including tree planting, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, ecosystem restoration and green technologies, hold tremendous potential for addressing the interconnected environmental challenges we face," she said, adding that it offers a pathway to mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development.

Mama Rachel Ruto also urged stakeholders to pool resources to finance nature-based solutions, "implement Kenya's ambitious tree growing strategy, promote sustainable development and scale up climate change mitigation measures".

As part of the tree-growing strategy, the government last year launched a nationwide tree-planting initiative in the hope of planting 15 billion trees by 2032. Through this strategy, the state hopes to tackle the climate change crisis and deforestation amid worsening impacts such as severe drought in the country and the wider Horn of Africa region.

Under the theme "Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral action to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution", Unea-6 brought together several stakeholders to discuss environmental issues.

Unep Executive Director Inger Andersen highlighted the level of underfunding of nature-based solutions, explaining that they receive only $200 billion a year globally. This is less than a third of what is needed annually by 2030 to meet climate, biodiversity and land degradation targets.

She emphasised that urgent policy change is needed to realign nature-negative financial flows as the best way to halt and reverse nature loss.