Safari Rally sets pace for other events with reforestation legacy plan

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed (right) looks on during the closing ceremony of the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally Staff Conference at Pride Inn Flamingo Beach Resort in Mombasa on October 24, 2020.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The WRC Safari has an environmental officer, Roy Kimama, in its organisational structure who ensures minimal environmental degradation impact in all motorsport activities, and next year his work will include managing the service parks, entire routes and spectator stages.
  • Amina has hit the road running barely a month since being elected to the powerful FIA Motorsport Council and has promised Kenya’s help to the FIA in promoting road safety which claims thousands of lives annually, and especially pedestrians, many of them young people and the elderly.

The World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally is a run in the wilderness and as such next year’s event will serve as a sporting discipline and a forum to conserve the environment.

As part of the Safari legacy some 19 million trees will be planted in some parts of the country for the next three years, according to Sports, Culture and Heritage Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed.

The figure represents the 18 years the Safari has been absent from the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and one year  that it was not held after returning to the  world  circuit this year only for Covid-19 to force a postponment.

The WRC series attracts over 800 million television viewers worldwide.

Speaking at the end of a three-day retreat for Safari Rally secretariat staff, state officers, and technical experts led by Clerk of the Course Gurvir Bhabra, in Mombasa, the CS explained the importance of achieving Sustainable Development Goals by using the Safari Rally.

This is a commendable initiative, using sport for environmental conservation. This coming five years after the Franciscan Brothers of Langata attempted to green the Moi International Sports Centre without success.

 She further explained the importance of bringing in as many people as possible to map out a legacy project which will secure sustainability and improve the conditions of our host institutions, host counties and indeed, Kenya as a whole.

The Safari’s legacy is anchored on environmental conservation and road safety education in line with the pillars of the International Motorsport Federation (FIA), besides promotion of Kenya as a tourism destination.

“As part of our rallying legacy, we proposed to plant 18 million trees over the next three years to commemorate the 18 years that the Safari Rally was out of the World Rally Championship circuit,” said the CS.

“Considering that the Rally did not happen this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope we can revise our mark to 19 million trees to mark 19 years of Safari Rally absence in the country.”

This year Kenya will honour the Safari by planting 1.9 million trees in a government multi-agency initiative bringing together the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and Save Our Rivers Initiative.

The target of 19 million trees will be reached over the subsequent three years.

This project will target parts of our wetlands affected by deforestation, traditional Safari Rally, and Kenya Motor Sports Federation routes, the service park, and the spectator stage at Kasarani.

The WRC Safari has an environmental officer, Roy Kimama, in its organisational structure who is entrusted to ensure minimal environmental degradation impact in all motorsport activities, and next year his work will include managing the service parks, entire routes and spectator stages.

Amina has hit the road running barely a month since being elected to the powerful FIA's Motorsport Council and has promised Kenya’s help to the FIA in promoting road safety as road accidents claim thousands

Amina has also been appointed to the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety committee which will hold its annual meeting from Wednesday.

The meeting will be held virtually.

One of the agenda of the meeting is to structure a road safety programme to further embed the values of safe motoring for the benefit of all people of the world and support the FIA President Jean Todt, also the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety.

Todt urged Kenyans to use the Safari to promote road safety.

Perhaps other sporting organisations should borrow a leaf from the Safari  Rally by using sports to further help the government achieve its long term goal of re-forestation.

njengap@gmail.com

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