New biodiversity, climate initiative presented to Kenya’s President
Kenya’s President William Ruto on Tuesday met with leading conservationist Azzedine Downes, President and CEO ofInternational Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to discuss the importance of biodiversity in combatting climate change.
Downes introduced the new conservation-led initiative “Room to Roam” to President Ruto during their meeting.
It is intended to ensure that biodiversity—including wildlife—are recognized as critical factors in the fight against global climate change.
The Room to Roam Roundtable is a first step in attracting conservation investment across the region.
“President Ruto’s support and that of Kenya will be key to the success of Room to Roam, a long-term plan to protect critical landscapes from Southern to East Africa to allow both wildlife and people to flourish”, says Downes.
“This will be fundamental to ensuring a meaningful shift in reducing the impact of climate change”.
Over the past 20 years the organization has invested more than US$40M in conservation of wildlife and in education and health services for communities that live with wildlife in Kenya.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently called for “a giant leap on climate ambition” and the need to drastically reduce emissions.
Ruto spoke out at the recent UN Climate Change Conference (CoP27) to emphasize the need to include both biodiversity and wildlife as critical factors in reducing those emissions in the first place — a view keenly supported by IFAW.
“As wildlife and people run out of space, IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative ensures stable elephant populations by securing key habitats, by bringing people together, and by creating safe passages for elephants and other wildlife to move freely,” said Downes.
“If wildlife has access to healthy habitat for both food and water, as well as the natural space to thrive, it will result in greater biodiversity and ultimately produces a natural resilience to climate change. A better solution for us all.”
In neighboring Uganda, IFAW steps in to save elephants, hippos, and other wildlife from poachers in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The elephant population rebounds from 150 to 2,400 and is now considered one of the finest in Kampala.
As parts of efforts to combat global wildlife crime the organization has secured 16,000 acres of critical habitat for elephants.
In so many ways, the organization spent the past 50 years growing to meet these challenges head-on.
The body has been vital in protecting the habitats, and helping them flourish, saving other species by rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing animals.
It signed a historic lease agreement with a Maasai community near Amboseli National Park in Kenya.