African leaders urge UN to prioritize tree planting drive

African leaders urge UN to prioritize tree planting drive

/ 09:10 AM July 06, 2024

African leaders urge UN to prioritize tree planting drive

FILE PHOTO: Cypress trees grow in the Everglades wetlands on April 19, 2024, in Everglades National Park, Florida. The park is the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie in North America and is home to 13 endangered and 10 threatened species. It is also the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere. Six African leaders called Friday, July 5, 2024, for the United Nations (UN) to prioritize a decade of planting trees to combat climate change, according to a declaration released at the end of a summit in the Republic of Congo. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo — Six African leaders called Friday for the United Nations to prioritize a decade of planting trees to combat climate change, according to a declaration released at the end of a summit in the Republic of Congo.

The declaration said the leaders had urged “the adoption of a resolution by the 79th General Assembly of the United Nations to officially endorse” the plan ahead of the annual gathering in New York in September.

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Congo’s capital Brazzaville hosted days of talks this week that brought together experts, representatives of indigenous populations, and technical and financial partners.

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Six leaders attended the summit, which is part of an “African and global decade of afforestation and reforestation” launched by Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso at COP27 in Egypt in 2023.

READ: Arbor Day: Why planting trees isn’t enough

Sassou Nguesso was joined by his counterparts including, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau, Faustin Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic, Brice Oligui Nguema of Gabon, and Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia.

A “Brazzaville Declaration” released at the conclusion of the summit called on the UN to realise the “crucial importance for the planet” of the initiative to plant more trees to combat climate change and its consequences.

READ: Groups urge Marcos to do more than plant trees

Leaders also called on the UN to hold an international conference on reforestation “biennially and on a rotating basis, from one continent to another,” according to the text, which was read out by Congo’s minister for forest economy Rosalie Matondo.

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“This conference seems to be the beginning of a process of research and a life-saving response. The situation we already know (climate change) remains worrying,” Sassou Nguesso said.

“The need for action is clear… it’s all about the will to act and putting in the necessary effort,” he added.

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“The great challenge today is not only to stop the disappearance of forests, but also to restore those that have disappeared and then create new ones,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission.

TAGS: Africa, Environment, UN

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