Addis Ababa — A nation-wide tree planting initiative kicked off on the morning of Monday 29th July aimed at breaking the world record of planting 200 million saplings on a single day. India currently holds the world record.
Officially launched by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in May, the nation-wide reforestation program, also popularly known as green legacy, is aimed at recovering the trees and forests that have been lost over the years. Staff and representatives from the UN family, African Union, Diplomatic Corps and Ethiopians from all walks of life gathered in Gullele Botanical Gardens and in a park in central Addis Ababa to play their part. Additional trees were planted in the compound of the Economic Commission for Africa, which also houses other UN agencies.
Economic Commission for Africa's Executive Secretary Vera Songwe lauded the tree planting efforts and said, "By greening the country, Ethiopia is leading the Continent in achieving SDG 15 to combat climate change, protect biodiversity and strengthen natural resources management. It is also doing so to increase overall productivity of both land oceans." She urged more countries to follow Ethiopia's example.
According to the ministry of agriculture, there will be continued monitoring and targeted efforts "to identify which seedlings have grown and been nourished by those who planted them; and where and which ones have died."
The overall long-term target is 4 billion trees nationwide and according to the Ministry, most of the seedlings being planted are from indigenous tree species.