Kenya pins hope on bioprospecting to boost growth, climate resilience-Xinhua

Kenya pins hope on bioprospecting to boost growth, climate resilience

Source: Xinhua| 2024-06-04 00:57:30|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has put in place policy and regulatory frameworks to facilitate the harnessing of its vast natural resources, including plants, microbes and edible insects, to sustain rural livelihoods while mitigating climatic shocks, senior officials said on Monday.

Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei said the government supports the prudent utilization of natural assets to fuel economic development, achieve food security and generate green jobs. "As a country endowed with vast biological resources, we have put in place mechanisms to facilitate their sustainable use in sectors that are key to our growth, like agriculture, manufacturing and tourism."

He made the remarks at the first joint international scientific conference taking place in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, gathering more than 300 delegates, including policymakers, scientists, researchers and innovators, mainly from the Global South.

The three-day conference, co-organized by the National Museums of Kenya and the Association of Kenyan Entomologists, is themed "Utilization of Biological Resources for Sustainable Development, Nature Conservation and Climate Resilience."

Koskei added that Kenya has supported bioprospecting, which aims to transform the livelihoods of local communities while preserving biodiversity hotspots that act as buffers against extreme weather events.

Silvia Museiya, principal secretary in the State Department for Wildlife, said as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Kenya is committed to soundly utilizing its vast flora and fauna to develop key industries like pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

According to Museiya, the government has domesticated international conventions governing the use of genetic resources to improve economic and health outcomes for grassroots communities.

She added that providing Indigenous communities with the knowledge to commercialize natural products, including honey, herbal medicine and edible insects, is key to tackling hunger, malnutrition, and rural poverty.

Mary Gikungu, director general of the National Museums of Kenya, said scientific research and data should inform the utilization of biological resources to generate income and spur industrial growth.

Kenyan researchers, according to Gikungu, have focused on documenting the country's abundant genetic resources while promoting awareness of their nutritional and medicinal properties.

She added that the country has aligned national policies with international protocols to ensure that bioprospecting unleashes benefits to local communities while maintaining the health of ecosystems.