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Biodiversity and climate initiative discussed between Kenyan President Ruto and conservationist Azzedine Downes

NAIROBI, Kenya – William Ruto, the president of Kenya, met with Azzedine Downes, the president and chief executive officer of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, today to discuss the value of biodiversity in the fight against climate change.

President Ruto was given a brief overview of the “Room to Roam” project by Downes during their meeting. The goal is to guarantee that biodiversity, especially the protection of animals, is acknowledged as a key component in the fight against climate change. The Room to Roam Roundtable is a starting point for luring regional investment in conservation.

“President Ruto’s support and that of Kenya will be key to the success of Room to Roam, a long-term plan to protect critical landscapes from Southern to East Africa to allow both wildlife and people to flourish”, says Downes. “This will be fundamental to ensuring a meaningful shift in reducing the impact of climate change”.

More than US$40 million has been spent by IFAW over the past 20 years on wildlife conservation, as well as on services for education and health for Kenyan people that coexist with wildlife.

Recent calls for “a huge leap on climate ambition” and the necessity of significantly reducing emissions came from UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Ruto, who is strongly backed by IFAW, spoke up at the most recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) to underline the importance of including both biodiversity and animals as crucial components in decreasing those emissions in the first place.

“As wildlife and people run out of space, IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative ensures stable elephant populations by securing key habitats, by bringing people together, and by creating safe passages for elephants and other wildlife to move freely,” said Downes.

“If wildlife has access to healthy habitat for both food and water, as well as the natural space to thrive, it will result in greater biodiversity and ultimately produces a natural resilience to climate change. A better solution for us all.”