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UNEP Announces Watersheds Project in Kenyan Forest

UNEP Announces Watersheds Project in Kenyan Forest29 November 2011: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced a three-year intervention to rehabilitate the Northern Mau Forest in Kenya. The EU-funded project is expected to restore of water catchments, establish payments for environmental services, improve the livelihoods of local communities, and monitor carbon storage in the Mau Forest.

The €2.3 million project, implemented by the Kenyan Government and UNEP, aims to create a sustainable basis for the Mau Forests long-term conservation and management. Ecosystem services provided by the Mau Forest include river flow regulation, flood mitigation, water storage, reduced soil erosion and biodiversity loss, carbon sequestration and storage, and microclimate regulation.

The EU also committed an additional €20 million for watershed protection and climate change adaptation in the Mau and other water towers in Kenya. The project is expected to pave the way towards establishing Kenya's pilot mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation in developing countries (REDD) by establishing an environmental monitoring system to quantify the carbon storage of the MAU forest, which may also be used to generate future additional resources from carbon credits. [UNEP Press Release]