Dutch ambassador visits the South West Mau Landscape

The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kenya, HE Amb. Frans Makken, visited IDH’s South West Mau Forest landscape program area on 15 November. The visit, which included a tree planting afternoon, discussion with program board members and a flight over the forest block, provided the ambassador with the opportunity to understand and appreciate the work IDH and its partners are doing in the landscape under the Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes (ISLA), the Kenyan branch of IDH’s landscapes program.

The ambassador was accompanied by the First Secretary in charge of Water and the Environment at the Embassy, Noeke Ruiter and hosted by James Finlay Kenya Limited.

Other ISLA partners who joined included Rhino Ark, Unilever, Kenya Forest Service, Kericho County, GIZ, The Water Resources Management Authority, Lel Timber, Kenya Tea Development Agency, Safaricom Foundation and representatives from the community water and forestry groups.

The Ambassador was grateful for the opportunity to appreciate the issues, challenges and most of all the partnerships IDH has established under ISLA in the landscape. He particularly appreciated the role of the private sector. He acknowledged that the issues facing the Mau require complex solutions, so partners need to work together in sync as ISLA is doing in order to come together with long-term solutions as everyone indicated during the discussions, there is no Silver bullet. He graciously accepted our request to become the Ambassador of the South West Mau and the ISLA team presented him with “an appointment letter” in the form of the Fence Feasibility Study Report.

The Ambassador is assisting ISLA Kenya to achieve gazettement by the Kenyan Government. As a first step, the Dutch embassy is organizing a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Environment and Natural Resources. The Embassy is also going to be hosting the next ISLA board on 2 February, 2017.