Nairobi, 8 November 2011 - More than 12 billion trees have now been planted in 193 countries under the Billion Tree Campaign, organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The 12 billion landmark was reached earlier this month following a tree planting campaign carried out in Kenya by the Green Africa Foundation.
One of thousands of individuals and organisations to have participated in the Billion Tree Campaign since its inception in 2007, the Green Africa Foundation plants trees in villages and schools in Eastern Kenya. To date, the foundation has planted over 24 million trees.
Inspired by the work of the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, the Billion Tree Campaign aims to improve the quality of life in communities across the world through the multiple benefits provided by trees. These include tackling climate change through the sequestration of carbon, contributing to local economies through products such as timber and providing valuable ecosystem services such as soil regulation, erosion control and cultural values.
Today, over 1 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the forest industry contributes around US$468 billion to global GDP.
The Billion Tree Campaign is active in all United Nations member states, including the most recent addition to the UN family, South Sudan, which joined the initiative in September 2011.
China is the leading participating country, having planted a total of 2.8 billion trees under the campaign. India is currently in second place with 2.1 billion trees, followed by Ethiopia, Mexico and Turkey.
Recent contributions to the campaign include a million trees planted by the Organization for Forests in Flanders, Belgium. Last month, the organisation dedicated the millionth tree planted under the initiative to the memory of Wangari Maathai, co-patron of the Billion Tree Campaign, who died in September 2011.
In the United States, the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and its partners have registered 10.9 million trees planted during 2011.
Under the Billion Tree Campaign, individuals and organisations, including youth groups, schools, businesses or national governments, can pledge to plant trees on the campaign website: www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign
Pledges range from a single tree to several million trees.
The responsibility for planting the tree lies with the individual or organisation. They are encouraged to keep in touch with UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign team to provide updates on the condition of the planted trees, as well as sending photos of their tree-planting activities. The Billion Tree Campaign also provides tips on planting trees and how to help ensure their survival.
For more information, please contact:
Bryan Coll, UNEP Newsdesk on Tel. +254 207623088 or E-mail: [email protected]