June 12, 2017 at 7:00-9:00 am, Crowne Plaza Hotel
Cabinet Secretary Professor Judi Wakhungu
Principal Secretary Margaret Mwakima
Dr. Manu Chandaria,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Habari za asubuhi?
I am delighted to be here with you today to help launch the process of developing Kenya’s first National Wildlife Conservation and Management Strategy.
Kenya has the distinction of having strong wildlife conservation laws, with tough penalties for poachers and those who violate the law. While some amendments that would further strengthen the law remain under discussion, the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013 is already a powerful signal of Kenya’s commitment to sustainably manage its biodiversity and preserve its unique natural heritage. Today, we have come together to take another major step towards making the vision articulated in the Wildlife Act a reality.
I am pleased to share the podium today with Cabinet Secretary Wakhungu and Principal Secretary Mwakima, under whose leadership there has been great progress on wildlife conservation in Kenya. I also want to commend Dr. Richard Leakey and Director General Kitili Mbathi, under whose leadership the Kenya Wildlife Service continues to make important progress in ending wildlife poaching in Kenya. Together, as a team, you have positioned Kenya as a leader of wildlife conservation not only on the continent, but globally.
But while there has been good progress in Kenya, to include a reduction in elephant poaching for example, the challenges ahead for wildlife remain daunting. We all know them. Shrinking space for wildlife, increased human-wildlife conflict, and the continuing problem of poaching and other crimes against wildlife.
How… whether… Kenya finds solutions to these challenges will determine whether our children share their world with elephants, giraffes, pangolins and so many other remarkable animals. To succeed, Kenya needs a plan, a strategy. A strategy that takes full account of the imperative that Kenya must have jobs, economic growth, and a prosperous future for its citizens. And, at the same time, a strategy that protects wildlife – for a wide range of economic, environmental, and cultural reasons. Our world would be a sad — I think miserable — place without our wild companions.
A strong, smart strategy will help Kenya protect its wildlife. It will help create space for wildlife, protect wildlife corridors, and reduce land fragmentation. It will provide a common framework for coordinating investments in wildlife protection and conservation in Kenya. A strategy will help animals to thrive.
So, I commend the government and the Cabinet Secretary for launching today this process that will develop Kenya’s new National Wildlife Strategy. The United States is pleased to support it. And, as I look around this room, I am impressed by the many partners who have come together to support this effort. Kenya is fortunate to have such a vibrant community of wildlife conservation organizations, scientists, environmentalists, academics, and policy makers.
Partnerships and wide consultation and engagement will be, of course, critical to developing a strong National Wildlife Strategy and to its success. As all of you work in the coming weeks to elaborate this strategy, I hope and urge that you reach out widely to people, to business, to pastoralists, to young people, to communities, to everyone… all across this beautiful country.
Over my time here, I have had the privilege of traveling to now more than 40 counties. I have talked with so many Kenyans and listened to them… I know they have remarkable ideas. They want to share them and to be part of building the future of their great country… a future that they believe should, must include wildlife.
The United States is also pleased to support conservation in Kenya through our new Wildlife Protection and Conservation program with the Kenya Wildlife Service. It will help KWS to effectively combat wildlife crime. KWS is in the process of developing their own five-year strategy with support from the U.S. government, and it will be critical that KWS’ operational priorities are aligned with the new National Wildlife Strategy.
The United States has been a strong partner with Kenya for over fifty years. Our efforts together to conserve wildlife and combat wildlife crime are a powerful symbol of our friendship. I know that the new National Wildlife Strategy, once in place, will advance our shared goals. And, I know, that Kenya, the United States and the world will be better for it. For a world with abundant, healthy wildlife, is a better, happier, more magical world for each and every one of us… and for our children.
Pamoja tusonge mbele.