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A woman cares for a seedling at a nursery outside Buee, in southern Ethiopia A woman cares for a seedling at a nursery outside Buee, in southern Ethiopia  (AFP or licensors)

Ethiopia marks World Environment Day aiming to plant 5bn trees

Marking World Environment Day, Ethiopia’s President launches a project that aims to plant 5 billion tree seedlings amid the enduring Covid-19 pandemic that has led to the drawing of parallels between the global health crisis and climate change.

By Vatican News

Ethiopia finalized groundworks to plant 5 billion trees during its rainy season that extends from June to September, setting World Environment Day as the day on which to flag-off a programme to combat desertification and make the nation greener.

This year’s initiative echoes a similar one last year called for by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who asked his countrymen to plant 200 million acacia seedlings in a single day, shattering the world record.

That effort proved disappointing because more than one-third of them, planted in hastily-dug holes filled with poor soil, were immediately washed away in the rain. 

But lessons have been learnt and Abiy, who is the 2019 Peace-prize Nobel Laureate, is determined to push forward with his “Green Legacy” campaign to promote ecotourism and transform Ethiopia into an environmentally friendly economy.

This year, experts have reportedly briefed officials on how to do a better job on seedling placement as well as explaining to citizens how afforestation will improve their lives.

They also point out that it shouldn't be a one-day campaign that happens every year, but an approach that engages every citizen and community, wherever they are, all year-round.

Involving communities

Productive and sustainable plantation and rehabilitation projects are already in place in the arid Horn of Africa nation, delivering immediate and concrete benefits to those living nearby.

Such as the one promoted by the UN Development Programme in Buee District where constructed ponds offer herders an alternative water source for their cattle and residents have been given eucalyptus seedlings to plant near their homes so they're not tempted to cut down the project's acacia and silky oak trees.

The project's nursery, meanwhile, employs 17 local women who earn roughly 50 US dollars per month, a good earning for the region.

05 June 2020, 13:31