On Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, the Hon. John Michuki, Kenya’s reform-driven environment minister, passed away. The minister, a hardworking and firm bureaucrat, succumbed to a heart attack in a Nairobi hospital just days after returning from treatment for a mild stroke in the United Kingdom. During the same week, the 12th Session of the Governing Council of UNEP was taking place in Nairobi.
Michuki was appointed Minister for the Environment and Mineral Resources in the Grand Coalition Cabinet named in April 13th, 2008. He will be remembered for initiating diverse programmes and projects among them the Nairobi River’s Rehabilitation and Restoration Programme, the reclamation of Kenya’s five water towers (Mau Forest Complex, Mount Kenya, Aberdare Range, Mount Elgon and Cherangany). He was also honored with a UNEP award for the Nairobi River Project. In addition, he will be remembered for enacting a new mining act to regulate environmental degradation and mining in Kenya.
Michuki had taken a leadership role in addressing Africa’s position towards the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009 and served as Co-chair of the consultative group of Ministers and high-level representatives on International Environmental Governance (IEG).
Mr. Michuki’s last official assignment was the Durban Climate Change Conference in South Africa between November 28 and December 9, 2011, where he stated Kenya’s determination to help reduce the impact of global warming but called on industrialized nations to boost the capacity of developing countries.
Photo: Professor Maria Ivanova with Hon. John Michuki in 2011 during the 26th session of UNEP’s Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya.