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Kenya calls for increased efforts to protect wildlife, environment

27 June 2014, 08:40

Nairobi - The High-Level segment of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) kicked off in Nairobi on Thursday with Kenya calling for more efforts towards the protection of wildlife and environmental conservation.

President Uhuru Kenyatta stressed the importance of environmental conservation in sustainable development and called on over 1,200 delegates to build on the commitments of the Rio 20 conference which resolved that environmental sustainability would be at the heart of national and global efforts to broaden prosperity.

The conference is set to deliberate on two environmental topics of major international significance in the next two days - the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including Sustainable Consumption and Production, and the Illegal Trade in Wildlife.

"I urge you to speak for us. I urge you to speak for the world on this critical agenda. The environment is our responsibility; it is the source of our wellbeing. The fate of our world depends on the quality of the care we give to it," Kenyatta said.

He reiterated Kenya's stand against poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife products as part of environmental conservation efforts.

Kenyatta said the robust anti-poaching measures established across government – from stronger legislation, to specialised legal mechanisms and upgraded enforcement – underscored the country's resolve to secure the survival of iconic species like the elephant and rhino.

Speaking during the occasion, Prince Albert II of Monaco commended UNEP for being increasingly vocal in defending the environment within the United Nations.

He quoted the late Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai by saying "We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk."

Kenyatta welcomed the upgrading of UNEP – located in Nairobi – to its proper role as the premier global organisation for environmental matters, noting that the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) was the fruit of the upgrading.

 - Xinhua

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