Please note: This interview was recorded in a noisy environment, which may affect the clarity of the contributor's words.
Presenter: Can you tell me what it was that first got you involved in working on environmental issues?
Jaspat: When I first of all was in my A-levels, I took a special interest in biology, and I followed this with ecology up to university level when I did my BSc in Ecology and Remote Sensing. So from there on it was like I had chosen my career which I became interested in up to the very end and to date. I did my Masters in Natural Resources Management and therefore developed a lot of interest in environmental issues.
Presenter: What are you working on currently in the last year or so and at the moment that you’re finding most stimulating, most important in your work?
Jaspat: I do several things. Apart from the normal work in the office where I undertake land use, land cover, mapping and assessment for the country, forest cover assessment for the country and crop yield and early warning. I also am the Chairman of the Greenhouse Gases Emissions Inventories for the country. So I get involved in the measurement of sources and things from five sectors – energy, agriculture, waste, land exchange and forestry and I’m forgetting the final one – sort of five of them, five sectors that I’m involved in. So I will produce that information. Like this year we are supposed to produce a national communication. Because of this conference I think we’ll have to finish it by February or March next year, the second national communication.
Presenter: Looking one year, five years and ten years out how do you see your role changing, what do you anticipate being the major landmarks in the next one, five or ten years both in your work in Kenya and more generally?
Jaspat: I think as I go up in hierarchy as I’ve been trying to do I would wish to see to it that Kenya as a country adapts to issues of climate change. As much as we try to advocate mitigation but I think for some of the things we want to emphasise an adaptation in very many administrations to try and correct, and I would wish to be part of this ongoing programme that would be in the country at that time.
Presenter: And the last question, do you consider yourself more optimist or pessimist looking out over the next ten years?
Jaspat: Now I have to think again. I think I’m quite optimistic that things will work all right in the future for the next ten years if we do what is needed right, so that we can…
Presenter: What would that amount to? In the context of the climate talks, what would doing the right thing amount to in terms of Kenya and its capacity to adapt?
Jaspat: At Kenya at the moment my Minister is the Minister of Environment, the Minister himself has advocated that he would like to get trees planted raised from the current less than 2% forest cover to almost 10% forest cover. So people raise tree nurseries. They plant more trees so that they can make sure that at least we have more sinks in the country as opposed to what it is at the moment.
Presenter: So …[unclear] work with what were once radical NGOs is now mainstream policy?
Jaspat: Yes it is, definitely it is, and she is working a lot with communities and now the Government is involved in such issues. So you’ll find that I think we expect everything to work well.