NAIROBI, June 5 (Xinhua) — Kenya on Wednesday marked World Environment Day with a commitment to restore its degraded landscapes and ecosystems as the East African nation becomes more vulnerable to climate change.

Soipan Tuya, the cabinet secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry who led the country in marking World Environment Day in Embu, some 125 km northeast of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, said climate change continues to adversely impact Kenya’s socioeconomic sectors.

“We are most vulnerable to climate change because the key drivers of our economy — agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry and fisheries — are climate-sensitive. The challenge threatens the livelihoods of millions of Kenyans, especially the rural poor who depend on natural resources for their survival,” she said. “But there is a reason for hope. Land restoration holds the key to reversing this tide. Every investment in restoration yields significant returns in terms of improved ecosystem services.”

Tuya said Kenya is fully committed to restoring its degraded landscapes and ecosystems in line with its 10-year National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, whose anchor framework is the 15 billion tree-growing program by 2032.

She said the strategy seeks to restore 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems, increase national tree cover by 17.8 percent, enhance sustainable land management practices, improve landscape and ecosystem governance through robust policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks and encourage private sector investment in environmental conservation.

The theme of this year’s celebrations was “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Building Drought Resilience,” which Tuya noted reflects Kenya’s steadfast commitment to safeguarding its precious natural resources through the years for the benefit of current and future generations.

Tuya observed that Kenya acknowledges the resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, regarding the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in countries facing serious drought and desertification, particularly in Africa.

“These resolutions underscore the global recognition of the challenges faced by countries like Kenya and emphasize the need for concerted efforts to address them,” she said.

Meantime, Festus Ng’eno, the principal secretary in the State Department of Environment and Climate Change, said Kenya would continue to enhance its resilience.

“By fostering resilience through integrated approaches to natural resource management, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, we can build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all,” he said.