Count Down to World Environment Day by Planting a Tree and Playing your Part
Nairobi, 12 May 2009 - As World Environment Day on June 5 fast approaches, UNEP has set an ambitious tree planting target that will not only encourage world leaders to seal a climate change deal in Copenhagen, but will also support the Billion Tree Campaign.
UNEP is appealing to everyone around the world to get planting! Whether you choose to plant one tree or thousands, we'd like you to register your tree planting pledge on the Billion Tree Campaign website.
You can also let others know about your tree planting activity by registering it on the World Environment Day website. Some 3.1 billion trees have now been planted in 166 countries, and the aim now is to plant seven billion by the end of 2009.
Social networkers around the world can use their "Twitter" accounts to follow the campaign at www.twitter.com/UNEPandYou. UNEP is pledging to plant a tree for every twitter follower who joins in between now and 5 June. The goal is to engage 100,000 followers on the social networking site and, in turn, plant 100,000 trees towards UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director said: "If we are to reach the goal of seven billion trees planted by the crucial UN climate convention meeting in December, UNEP needs your support from schools and associations to governments, businesses and individual citizens"
"Make the run up to WED a tree planting time, indeed make it one today-if half the people on the planet get out and plant just one sapling in May through to 5 June then the campaign is just a whisker away from success: a powerful statement too to world leaders and the need to Seal the climate Deal in less than 200 days time," he added.
Already, the World Organisation of the Scouts Movement have pledged their participation in the global tree planting drive. Priority countries for tree planting activities by Scouts include Mexico, India, South Africa, Georgia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Hungary, Philippines, Brazil and Australia. Through this initiative the Scouts hope to plant 65,000 trees or more.
Luc Panissod, the Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, said: "World Scouting calls all young people, Scouts and non-Scouts, to engage with UNEP on the occasion of World Environment Day. Raising awareness on climate change and working towards achieving better living conditions has increased Scouting's commitment to addressing environmental issues. Youth empowerment is an integral part of World Scouting policy to invite young people to become agents of change"
The UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations has also agreed to take part in the Billion Tree Campaign through its peacekeeping operations around the world. Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said:
"I encourage all staff members to participate in this initiative, which brings the United Nations family together not only for the benefit of the countries where we serve but for future generations worldwide."
The World Environment Day global tree planting drive is the first in a series of mass participation events planned as part of the UN-led "Seal the Deal!" campaign in the lead-up the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen.
As part of this campaign, UNEP is also encouraging Chinese youth to register their awareness-raising activities through Xiao Nei - a Chinese social networking site.