Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu has lauded Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for being the first University in East Africa to be awarded the Environmental Management System (EMS) ISO 14001: 2004 Certification.
Addressing staff, students and the public at JKUAT Main Campus, Juja, where she presided over the handing over ceremony of the Institution’s EMS Certificate by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Cabinet Secretary said, the certification has established the institution as a leader in ISO Standards compliance having earlier in 2009, scooped the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems Certification, a feat that is yet to be achieved by most institutions of higher learning in the region.
Prof. Wakhungu noted that the EMS certification has enormous benefits that most institutions in the world are striving to achieve. “The EMS certification is of utmost importance to institutions and its benefits are not limited to cost saving due to greater emphasis on resource, waste and energy management and the controlled impact of an institution’s activities on the environment,” Prof. Wakhungu observed.
She further said, “The overall goal of Kenya Vision 2030 for the environmental sector is to attain a clean, secure and sustainable environment,” noting that, under the Constitution, a clean, secure and sustainable environment is a basic human right.
Although the environmental sector faces immense challenges which include climate change, inadequate management of available resources, insufficient investment, inadequate skilled manpower, pollution, inappropriate management of data and information, the CS said, the EMS certification awarded to JKUAT would go a long way in addressing some of the identified challenges.
The CS thus urged the environmental sector to tap into the professional skills and expert knowledge that JKUAT continues to provide, and challenged the institution to “continually ensure adequate skilled manpower is available at all levels for all sectors.”
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director Charles Ongwae in a speech read on his behalf by Director of Standards Mr. Charles Gachanja, congratulated JKUAT for attaining ISO 14001:2004, Environmental Management System certification. “Together we have walked through the journey of ISO 9001:2008, Quality Management Systems and now through ISO 140001:2004 Environmental Management Systems certification. This certification does not only demonstrate your commitment to best practice, but it also confirms that excellence is important to you,” he said. He also revealed that KEBS was working with universities in order to streamline standardization.
The Chancellor Prof. Geoffrey Moriaso Ole Maloiy said, “JKUAT has demonstrated its commitment to protect, conserve and enhance its environment, noting that “in the last three years, the University has planted over 30,000 trees across its campuses.”
He lauded the University’s sensitization to enhance environmental awareness amongst staff, students and the host community as well as the institution’s effort to improve solid and liquid waste management in its establishments in line with statutory requirements and urged the institution to maintain the standards and embrace the culture of continuous improvement in service delivery to her stakeholders.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga said the historic EMS certification will improve the sustainability of the environment the institution operates in, as well as enhance institutional image. She urged the university community to deposit all kind of waste in the designated points and to utilize waste disposal facilities effectively. She further appealed to staff and students to observe efficient use of electricity and water, as well as drastic reduction of paper in offices. “In our research activities, we should adhere to guidelines provided by the relevant statutory bodies at all times,” she advised.
The University’s Management Representative Prof. Victoria Ngumi recounted the University’s EMS certification journey, terming it an important milestone for the University’s commitment to set trends in higher education and appreciated all the stakeholders especially the “EMS Champions” for helping the University attain the ISO certification