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Africa asked to augment budget for environment protection

02 March 2007, The Daily Monitor/allAfica

Addis Ababa:   African countries should increase their current "poor budget" to help fight the ever growing desertification in the continent, an activist urged on Wednesday. African countries do not allocate adequate budget for environment as they do to other more important sectors of the government nor do they take the matter threatening the lives of millions seriously, Kenyan Professor Wangari Maathai, the environmental activist who won the 2004 noble prize award said.

Millions of hectares of land is said to be vulnerable to deforestation annually due to lack of adequate funds and the attention for the environment protection on the part of the African society.

"What we have seen is that African nations are not giving enough budgets for environmental protection as they are doing for defense ministries to buy weapons, and to other institutions," Maathai said adding there were worst cases where environment was unknown in the administrative channels of the government.

"There is environmental ignorance in Africa," Maathai lamented.

Professor Maathai was making a presentation on the state of environment and climate change at the regional environmental security forum that begun here on Monday at the Sheraton Addis.
Security officers from Africa, USA, and European countries are attending the two-week forum at the Sheraton She told the delegates that Africa is currently facing environmental degradation and deforestation than ever before, which is resulting in the lose of millions of people annually.

"Millions are dying because of these problems by flood, crop failure, starvation and other related problems. Million others are getting poorer due to environmental degradation in our continent. Protecting primary resources is very important" Professor Maathai said.

Professor Wangari indicated that,owing to lack of awareness and capacity, Africa was ill prepared to respond to the effects of climate change and the continent is bound to sustain more calamities suffered at large by climate change in the world.

Planting tress and protecting those already planted, will help Africa to minimize the problem it is facing, according to professor Wangari.

She also urged African countries to do their best to protect the Congo forest in DR Congo- regarded as the only symbol of African forest.

"This forest is one of the very important forests in the world, next to Amazon and South- East Asia. It is important for Africa. I appeal to African countries to protect the Congo forest,"Wangari added.

The Professor also expressed fear over the "melting of the Kilimanjaro ice and Kenya Mountains" which she said is leading for more environmental degradation in the continent.

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