February 9, 2023
The Nairobi Rivers Commission has received a major boost following a commitment of technical and financial support from the World Resources Institute (WRI) in cleaning the Nairobi river as tasked by President William Ruto.
Speaking when he met a delegation from the WRI led by the Chief Executive Officer Ani Dasgupta, at Harambe House Annex on Thursday Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said partnership is critical in restoring the river of the city for improved quality of life.
“We are happy to receive you as our partners in reclaiming the lost glory of the river of Nairobi. We will work together with the Nairobi Rivers Commission in developing an integrated strategy to sustainably restore and maintain the river,” the Deputy President said.
Mr Gachagua said an integrated strategy to cleaning the river will rope in communities living along the water resources for sustainability.
The Nairobi Rivers Commission, which will be commissioned soon, will coordinate a joint implementation plan funded by the national government, the County Government of Nairobi, partners and the communities living along the river.
In the Executive Order No.1 of 2023, President William Ruto assigned Mr Gachagua various roles, key among them, overseeing the restoration of the Nairobi river. This was about a month after appointing a commission, Chaired by Dr. Pamela Olet.
Other member of the commission include Elizabeth Waithuti (civil society), Duncan Ojwang (academia), Eva Muhia (riverine communities), Carlota Dal Lago (private sector) and Elijah Biama.
“Restoring the Nairobi river is a priority for the Kenya Kwanza Administration. It is a legacy assignment for President Ruto and I. We have identified it as a priority and we are open to partnership for better and lasting results,” he said.
The CEO of the WRI said cleaning Nairobi river will be incorporated into the ongoing projects across the country on sustainable environment. Further discussions with the WRI will be held before the end of February to concretise on the strategy, which will also show the required resources.
“We have been working on restoration of water systems, degraded land and other environmental sustainability projects especially in the Rift Valley and we share in the vision of the government in restoration of the environment as part of the plan of socio-economic transformation of the country,” the CEO, who is also the president of the organisation said.
Under the Nairobi River, the organisation will offer technical and financial support to complement the contribution of the national and county government of Nairobi, he said.
Mr Dasgupta said WRI will support the government in its plan of growing 15 billion trees by 2032. Under their projects of encouraging transformation to green energy for motorcycles and three wheeled vehicles (tuktuk), the small and medium enterprises, he said growing of fruit trees like avocados will be prioritised.
Growing more fruit trees ill not only enhance food security in the country, but also create more avenues of revenues including gains from carbon credits.
The Deputy President informed the delegation that several plans, including engagement of national government administration officers and incorporation of timber millers, are underway towards realisation of the 15 billion trees by 2032.
While national government officers, including the President will lead planting of trees, especially during functions, timber millers have agreed to grow 10 seedlings for every one harvest.
The initiative will incorporate ongoing initiatives including the Nairobi River Basin Project (UNEP, 2000), Adopt-A-River Initiative (UNEP and Rotary Clubs, 2019–ongoing), Nairobi River Regeneration Initiative (UN-Habitat and GoK, 2020– ongoing); and Urban Rivers Regeneration Programme (NEMA, 2019 – 2024) and incorporate the lessons to the new initiative,” the Gazette Notice reads.