Kerio Delta, February 2, 2024 (Public Communications and Media Relations)
The Turkana County Government observed World Wetlands Day 2023, a global event celebrated every 2nd of February to commemorate the Ramsar Convention of 1971, promoting the sustainable use of wetland ecosystems and their resources.
In a speech delivered on behalf of the County Governor by Elizabeth Loote, Executive Committee Member for Tourism, Culture, Natural Resources, and Climate Change, the County boss acknowledged the critical contribution of wetlands to residents’ livelihoods and the economic well-being of the County.
Governor Lomorukai highlighted Lake Turkana, River Turkwell, River Kerio, and Lotikipi swamps as the major wetlands of Turkana, emphasizing their role in water provision, the blue economy, tourism, and fishing value chains.
The Governor called upon the residents to champion the conservation and proper use of wetland resources to maximize their potential for providing a source of livelihood and improving biodiversity.
Acknowledging the support provided for climate change mitigation efforts and the county’s participation in tree planting exercises, the Governor affirmed his personal commitment to eliminating threats to the wetlands.
The Governor further revealed that the County Government was collaborating with partners to tap into the economic potential of Lake Turkana in the hospitality industry, water transport, and sports.
“We are glad that NEMA, KFS, KEFRI, KWS, KMA, World Vision, KDF, TUC, LOKADO, KMTC, BOMA project, Wetland International, and many other partners have shown interest in working with the county on environmental conservation measures to safeguard the wetland ecosystems from degradation,” the Governor added.
On her part, CECM Loote emphasized that the day was meant to create awareness of wetlands under the theme Wetlands and Human Wellbeing.
CECM Loote added that the wetlands acknowledged by the Governor covered a massive area and substantial water in aquifer formations capable of supporting the country for up to 70 years.
“It is also essential to understand that our wetlands suffer a great deal during prolonged droughts and unpredictable weather patterns. There is a need for embracing climate-smart approaches to mitigate against the degradation of the wetland ecosystems,” CECM reiterated.
To mark the day, CECM Loote led the residents in conducting a clean up of Kerio Town and sensitized the area residents of the need for sustainable utilisation of the resources.
Similar events were marked at various locations across Kenya with the main event at Timboroa Dam where CS for Environment Soipan Tuya called on people who have encroached on wetlands to voluntarily vacate.
Other speakers present included Chief Officers Joseph Ekalale (Natural Resources and Climate Change), Evans Lomodei (Fisheries and Aqua Culture), Directors from the County and representatives of partners.