Kampala, May 2017- Ahead of the commemoration of World Environment Day which fell on 05 June, 2017, Director of Programmes at the NEPAD Agency, Mrs Estherine Fotabong joined the Commissioner for the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E Josefa Leonel Correia, in planting a symbolic tree in Kampala, Uganda during the 13th CAADP Partnership Platform meeting.
At the tree planting ceremony, Commissioner Josefa Correia stressed the importance of forests and trees in contributing towards preserving Africa’s rich biodiversity and as the foundation to achieve the goals contained in the African Union’s Agenda 2063; the NEPAD Environment Action Plan; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction; the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement with its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). While expressing concern about the rate of deforestation in Africa, the Commissioner pointed out that a concerted effort by all key players and in particular national governments, will contribute to restoring Africa’s rich biodiversity and environmental resources.
Mrs Fotabong also bemoaned the alarming rate of biodiversity loss in Africa and emphasised the net contribution of trees and forests to the wellbeing of people and communities, particularly the poor and vulnerable. “Trees and forests,” she said, “Provide long term growth opportunities and deliver vital ecosystem services such as clean water, biodiversity conservation including wildlife and medicines, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
The Director mentioned that NEPAD Agency, together with the African Union Commission and key stakeholders will be commemorating 50 years of Environmental Management in Africa with a series of events in 2018.
The tree planting exercise was organised by Green-Aid Sustainability Forum and is aimed at planting 100 million trees by 2020 (#100MillionTrees4Africa). This initiative is linked to the African Forest Landscape Restoration (AFR100) which is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes across Africa into restoration by 2030.
The coordinator for Green-Aid Sustainability Forum that is leading the tree planting exercise reported that in the last two years 10,575 trees have been planted in Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.