UNEP hands over "Billion Tree Campaign"

UNEP hands over the well established "Billion Tree Campaign" to the Plant-for-the-Planet Children Initiative

Ceremonial handover in the course of the COP 17 UN-Climate Summit on December 7th 2011 in Durban  
Felix Finkbeiner (14), founder of Plant-for-the-Planet, demands from every world citizen to plant 150 trees until 2020

Durban, December 7th 2011 - Plant-for-the-Planet accepts a great inheritance: on December 7th 2011 the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) hands over  the well established "Billion Tree Campaign" into the responsibility of the children initiative in the course of the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17).
Together with children from various countries, Felix Finkbeiner, the founder of the initiative, will accept this assignment in the course of a festive event in the Moses Mabidha Stadium in Durban, South Africa. Prince Albert of Monaco, who launched the campaign in 2006 together with the late Wangari Maathai, will also attend the ceremonial act.

Ambitious campaign and well established heritage.
Until now, more than 12.5 billion trees have been planted within the framework of the Billion Tree Campaign - that equals two trees per citizen. The handover of this important campaign to the children from Plant-for-the-Planet constitutes an important decision, standing symbolically for the trust which the adults set into the activities of the children: the following generation will manage successfully continue this initiative and unite young people all over the world by taking over responsibility for the earth. Therefore the children set another ambitious goal: to plant 1,000 billion trees worldwide until 2020.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the UNEP, says: "Today we open a new chapter with the Plant-for-the-Planet foundation and its network of enthusiastic young people around the globe. I would encourage all those involved in the Billion Tree Campaign to now give the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation and this network of young people the same kind of support they have given UNEP and the World Agroforestry Centre since 2006", he added.

The children are proud and happy about the decision of the UNEP and consider it as great success of their present work - last but not least because the takeover of the campaign puts them into the position that the adults report to them. "This is an enormous sign of confidence and a historical step", Felix Finkbeiner says. "Now we children officially control the tree counter and together with the governments, companies and citizens we will let it increase quickly. We succeed this challenge with greatest dedication and we will do everything to continue the Billion Tree Campaign as defined by its late founder Wangari Maathai."

The lately departed Kenian environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Maathai who has planted 30 million trees within 30 years, has been the greatest role model for Felix from the beginning on. Her success inspired Felix to unite the children of the world and plant trees against the climate crisis.  

1,000 billion trees for the whole world until 2020
The new goal of the children and youth, linked to the takeover of the Billion Tree Campaign, is to plant 1,000 billion trees worldwide until 2020. Through this great carbon reservoir an additional 10 billion tons can be bonded and therewith time is gained to finally decrease the CO2 emissions sustainable.
If each world citizen only planted 150 trees until 2020, this goal could be achieved.
Using a counter on the website of the campaign, which also merges to the area of responsibility of Plant-for-the-Planet, the current number of planted trees can be traced: http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/
Until now, more than 12 billion trees have been planted in 193 countries.
Patron of the Plant-for-the-Planet Children Initiative is the UNEP's former executive director Klaus Töpfer, patron of the "Billion Tree Campaign" is Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The Plant-for-the-Planet delegation in Durban consists of:
Felix Finkbeiner and Carolin Lamatsch from Deutschland
Thabelang Lechesa and Molefi Molefi from Lesotho
Andile Lloyd Lushozi, Shraddha Rajcoomar and Nthabeleng Ramotholo from South Africa
as well as some adult companions.

Further information at:
Visit us on facebook: stop talking. start planting.

About Plant-for-the-Planet:
The Plant-for-the-Planet children initiative was founded in January 2007 and has its origin in a school presentation about the climate crisis of the - back then - 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner. At the end of the presentation Felix developed the vision that children could plant one million trees in each country of the world to create a CO2  balance therewith. During the following years Plant-for-the-Planet developed to a worldwide move:  At present approx. 100,000 children in over 100 countries pursue this goal.
They understand themselves as an initiative of world citizens which campaign for climate justice in the sense of total reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases and an homogeneous distribution of those emissions among all humans.
Since March 2011 Plant-for-the-Planet has a democratic structure with a Global Board which consists of 14 children from eight nations.
The worldwide communication campaign of the children initiative is guided by the slogan "Stop talking. Start planting." and in 2010 was awarded the Social Effie in gold for efficient communication.
Plant-for-the-Planet is supported by the Global Marshall Plan Foundation, the AVINA Foundation, the Club of Rome and Leagas Delaney Hamburg. In Germany the following companies support the Academies for the education of the children: Toyota, Develey Senf & Feinkost, Hess Natur and Parador. The Academies in South Africa are being supported by Deutsche Post DHL and Toyota Financial Services South Africa.
In Germany the goal to plant one million trees was reached on 4th of May 2010. Of course further trees are being planted in Germany beyond the one million goal.

Press contact:

Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation
Felix Finkbeiner
Durban, South Africa
Mobile ++27 (0)83 248 05 69
Mobil: ++49 (0)171 74 88 108

Helge Bork
Lindemannstr. 13
82327 Tutzing, Germany
Phone/fax ++49 (0) 8808 9345 / 9346
Mobile ++49 (0) 160 854 08 65

The children proudly take on the new responsibility

Download more photos in high resolution here.