Tree planting tribute to late Duke of Edinburgh

One thousand trees were planted at the O Le Pupu Pue National Park on Thursday in memory of the late His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The tree planting was hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) and the British High Commissioner to Samoa, David Ward to coincide with World Earth Day as well as to remember the late Duke of Edinburgh who is renown for his passion for the environment. 

A minute of silence was held for the late Duke of Edinburgh before the trees’ planting at the National Park. The event was attended by the members of the diplomatic corp and the M.N.R.E. staff.

The caretaker Minister of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D) Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, said the event’s theme - “restore our earth” - focuses on natural processes and emerging green technologies and innovations for restoring the world’s ecosystems.

“The theme calls for unity and solidarity at all levels to restore our Earth, our common home for our survival,” Tuitama said.

He said Earth Day is about the empowerment of people to bring about transformative change to make an impact on the sustainable management of Samoa's natural resources.

“Protecting and restoring the health of our planet earth has become more important than ever,” he said.

Tuitama said that Samoa’s national vision prioritises environmental sustainability as one of four key pillars to realise its long-term vision of improved quality of life for all Samoans.

He added that a sustainable environment and an ecologically secure Samoa will improve the environment and provide several national opportunities.

The National Park is part of the Queen’s canopy and 1000 native trees were planted to pay tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh.

“[He was] an environmentalist who had pioneered environmental work in the 1950s before climate change was the widely recognised crisis it is today,” he said.

He added that Thursday’s commemorative event raised awareness of the value of indigenous forests and saving them for future generations.

Tuitama acknowledged the assistance of the British High Commission and expressed his appreciation to development partners and stakeholders who have contributed to the sustainable management of Samoa’s national resources.

Mr. Ward noted that the O Le Pupu Pue National Park is the oldest in the South Pacific.

He staid that the environment is a shared legacy that everyone should work to protect for the citizens and the future generation.

The park is part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy dedicated by the Government of Samoa to the international effort of the Commonwealth to connect forest conservation across all Commonwealth member states. 

Mr. Ward said the late Duke of Edinburgh was a pioneer in environmental protection.

"He was one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature [today the World Wildlife Fund], one of the leading conservation groups in the world," he said.

Mr. Ward said the Duke of Edinburgh was perhaps responsible for planting more trees in the United Kingdom than anybody else, not only at official events but also at his personal farmland.

After he passed away earlier this month on 9 April the British High Commission in Samoa decided to plant a tree in his memory to coincide with World Earth Day. 

The High Commission had advised the M.N.R.E of the memorial tree planting ceremony to coincide with the symbolic gesture of planting 1000 trees.

Mr. Ward gave his thanks to the Ministry for incorporating the tree planting event into the caretaker Government's broader Two Million Tree Campaign.

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