Ephantus Kimotho is the Principal Secretary at the State Department for Forestry in the Kenyan Ministry of Environment Climate Change and Forestry. As the Principal Secretary, he is responsible for implementing the National Forestry Development Policy, including the protection, conservation and sustainable management of forests and agroforestry, as well as all reforestation and afforestation efforts. Ephantus is also responsible for coordinating the National Forestry and Rangelands Restoration Campaign to grow 15 billion trees to rehabilitate and restore 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes. Ephantus provides policy support and oversight of the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Forestry Research Institute.
Within his role as Principal Secretary to date, Ephantus facilitated the development of the National Forest Policy, the National Strategy for the achievement of 30% tree cover, the National Strategy and Action Plan for the management and control of the invasive Prosopis juliflora tree species and is championing the establishment of a “Green Army to accelerate forest and landscape restoration in Kenya.
He is the focal point for the Convention on Biodiversity Conservation (CBD), the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Operational Focal Point (OFP) for Kenya. He also provides leadership to deliver Kenya’s global forestry commitments. These include the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), the finalization of the Forest and Landscape Restoration Implementation Plan 2023-2027, as well as sustainable land management and green value chains for community livelihoods and support systems.
Ephantus is also responsible for implementing forestry sector actions that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the full implementation of the REDD+ process. He is currently championing the development of a green bond framework for raising finance for restoration and the development of a carbon market under the REDD+ process.
Other significant contributions include championing commercial forestry development, re-introducing 4K clubs and environmental classes in learning institutions to develop a culture of conservation among children and strengthening partnerships with county governments through the development of tree nurseries and urban forests and the development of a forest account as part of natural capital accounting. The intention is to capture the total economic value of forest resources in Kenya and develop an appreciation of the immense forestry contribution to the national economy.