There are numerous activities in and around Nairobi to mark World Environment Day on 5 June, which this year has the theme Dont desert drylands!. Jomo Kenyatta University Environmental Management Association (JKUEMA) is holding a tree-planting exercise involving local primary schoolchildren at Sasumwa Dam near the capital in an attempt to halt the process of desertification in the area. Youth from community groups across Kenya, school-based environmental clubs and non-governmental organisations will be taking part in a march organised by the Network for Youth in Combating Desertification, beginning and ending at Uhuru Park just outside Nairobis central business district. Following the march a youth advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will present young people with awards for their contribution to combating desertification in Kenya. UNEPs regional office for Africa in Nairobi is also organising a series of events in connection with World Environment Day, including an exhibition at the National Museums of Kenya featuring a film on people in the drylands as well as issues of desertification.
Population growth, irregular rain fall, inappropriate farming practices and deforestation are all putting strain on Kenyas drylands, which account for an estimated 90 per cent of the countrys surface. The resulting degradation, or desertification, is in turn putting additional pressure on the already vulnerable populations which these lands support, leading to conflict over increasingly precious water and land resources. 2006 is the international year of deserts and desertification. For more information and details of activities in other cities across Africa see www.unep.org/wed/2006/english