U.N., Govt. lead way with 600 trees on World Environment Day

By Marc Membrere 06 June 2020, 4:00PM

The spirit behind the World Environment Day was not lost at the One United Nations House at Tuana'imato on Friday afternoon.

There, the United Nations (U.N) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) Forestry Division joined forces to plant more than 600 trees to “Celebrate Biodiversity.”

The trees consisted of 550 forest trees and 60 fruit trees and they were planted at the One U.N House and the Faleata Recreational Reserve, across the road.

The saplings were sourced from M.N.R.E’s Forestry Division and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and ornamental plants from Crystal Samoa Orchids.

The event was also part of the United Nations Development Programme’s (U.N.D.P) Greening Moonshot Initiative, launched by the U.N.D.P Administrator, Achim Steiner, in 2019.

It aims to reduce Greenhouse Gas (G.H.G) emissions from global operations by 25% by 2025, and 50% by 2030.

The event was opened with opening remarks by the U.N.D.P Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen, and M.N.R.E Assistant Chief Executive Officer (A.C.E.O) Forestry Division, Moafanua Afuvai Tolusina Pouli.

“U.N.D.P is committed to walk the talk, demonstrating that we run our operations in a resource-efficient, sustainable and accountable way,” Mr. Sorensen said.

“Becoming carbon neutral is not enough, so as a result, the U.N.D.P Greening Moonshot Initiative was launched, catalysing fundamental changes in U.N.D.P’s organisational culture and business model to confidently walk the climate talk, encouraging local partners to do the same.”

The event was the first in a series of tree planting events U.N.D.P plans to carry out this year, in a bid to offset carbon emissions from mission-related U.N.D.P travel and electricity usage over the last 12 months.

The aim is to turn these emissions into trees to increase the planet’s carbon sequestration capacity, whilst contributing to M.N.R.E’s Two Million Trees Campaign, which has already been exceeded.

“The Two Million Tree Planting Campaign is a national initiative to help advance the cause for sustainable forest management, rehabilitate degraded land areas, preserve water resources and protect biological diversity whilst contributing to mitigating the impacts of climate change,” Mr. Pouli said.

“The forest systems are often vulnerable to impacts of human activities, so every tree planted counts. M.N.R.E is pleased to partner with U.N.D.P for the tree planting today to commemorate World Environment Day.”

The event also provided an opportunity for local impact entrepreneurs, Samoa Green Products Ltd (S.G.P.L), to showcase their nature-based alternatives to single-use plastic and polystyrene, in support of the Government of Samoa’s plastic ban. 

'These include plates, bowls and spoons made from native palm leaves.

For their “Adopt a Plant” office activity, U.N.D.P sourced from S.G.P.L hand-woven baskets containing small desk-plants for staff, as a constant reminder of the importance of greening their daily activities, taking pride in being part of the solution.

In an interview with Samoa Observer, Moafanua said the event was initiated by the U.N.D.P with the M.N.R.E by providing seedlings.

“The good thing is that this will also contribute to our two million tree-planting campaign. Our target has been exceeded,” he said.

“Planting trees is a non-stop event and non-stop activity because farmers and the communities, N.G.Os (Non-governmental organisation), Government ministries, and all our international development partners they keep on doing this.

“This is a second phase for this campaign. The first one was one million and we are in the two million, maybe after this, we will have another phase.

“The good thing about this campaign is just to remind us that planting trees is very important in our life. The good thing about this campaign is that we also consider and include agriculture crops.”

He thanks the farmers, local community, N.G.Os, all the Ministries, and the U.N and international development partners.

By Marc Membrere 06 June 2020, 4:00PM

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