At the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2012, it was decided that organizations should recognize Prof. Wangari Maathai’s immense contribution to environmental awareness in Africa. As a result, Wangari Maathai Day was endorsed to be celebrated on the same day as the African Environment Day, on every 3rd of March. On March 3, 2020, the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, was pleased to join the Green Belt Movement, Wangari Maathai Foundation, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Defence Forces, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, the European Union and the general public in the celebration of this important day. The celebration facilitates awareness raising on environmental issues in the continent such as climate change, deforestation, land degradation, desertification, loss of biodiversity among others, that drives food security, health and development issues.
Conservation of the environment, including the urban green spaces like Uhuru park where the event was held, helps to improve climate, reduce air pollution as well as promoting recreational services for families and tourists, among other ecosystem services.
Prof. David N. Mungai, Director, WMI in his remarks noted that the Institute is indebted to the role the late Professor Wangari played in protecting Uhuru Park from conversion to a concrete jungle and urged all stakeholders to continue protecting the Park and other urban green spaces. He said the Institute was also involved in celebrating the day at Gatugi Primary School in Othaya, Nyeri County. The Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau and the Cabinet Secretary, Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, underpinned the government’s commitment to working closely with like-minded organizations to conserve the environment. Mrs. Marion Kamau, the Chairperson, GBM on the other hand, urged all stakeholders to emulate Professor Maathai's efforts and fight against the prevailing environmental challenges. Ms. Wanjira Maathai highlighted the role the Wangari Maathai Foundation is playing in the continuation of the legacy of the late Prof. Wangari Maathai. Ms. Mathai also acknowledged the continued role played by the Wangari Maathai Institute in honoring, advancing, and immortalizing the ideals and works of the 2004 Peace Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai. GBM extended its gratitude to all stakeholders including the University of Nairobi and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for making the day a success.