It was the third time that the African Union Commission (AUC) celebrated the African Environment Day in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. This celebration, organized by AU, in cooperation with UNEP Addis Ababa Liaison Office to AUC, ECA, and Representative to Ethiopia and the Forum for Environment, held in YEHA Institute of Biodiversity under the theme “Forests for Sustainable Development”.
Around sixty participants from AUC, UNEP, local NGOs, and students from YEHA Institute were present to commemorate this day and planted together 200 trees.
Ms. Milha Desta from the Forum for Environment raised importance of local participation to protect forests in Ethiopia and challenges caused by climate change that Africa has to face.
Mr. Serge Bounda, head of UNEP Addis Ababa Liaison Office highlighted in his remarks the importance of forests in the African contexts for sustainable development and, more broadly speaking, importance of African environment in the word. From this view, he mentioned two relevant events linked with environmental issues which represent an incredible opportunity for African countries to embrace former and new challenges: the next AU Summit about “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” (July 2011) and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (May 2012).
Mr. Abebe Haile Cabriele, Director of Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AUC, also delivered remarks on AU commitment to combat against deforestation in Africa.
African Environment Day was designated in 2002 by Decision of AU Executive Council to raise public awareness importance on environmental challenges in Africa such as climate change, desertification, deforestation, land degradation, endangered biodiversity etc. which are mainly responsible of problems related to security food, health and development.