Remarks of Ambassador Betty King
World Forestry Day, March 21st
UNECE/FAO/US Tree Planting on UN Palais Grounds
-as prepared for delivery-
Good Morning! Here I am this morning with my UN Economic Commission for Europe and Food and Agriculture Organization friends for the second time in two months. It is good to see you again today on World Forestry Day. Last month, we found ourselves together to celebrate the “Art of Trees: A Forest Gallery” exhibit which was held inside the Palais and featured over 70 live trees and the superb artwork of an American artist, Monté Dolack. This was an exhibit that perfectly ushered in 2011 as the International Year of Forests.
By all accounts, the exhibit achieved its goal of increasing awareness about how forests contribute to our economic, environmental and social well-being around the world. It remains so vital that we all put forest ecosystems into the mainstream of politics and policy and that we adopt more eco-sensitive and sustainable forest management practices. To move in that direction we need to reduce deforestation, manage existing forests, and establish new forests.
It is with that last goal in mind that I find myself here today – mindful of this being World Forestry Day – ready to plant a tree here on the UN grounds with my UNECE and FAO colleagues. By planting this Liriodendron tulipifera or Tulip Tree, we take a small, but symbolic step, towards furthering the ambition of increased tree coverage around the globe. This tree will stand long after we fall and will continue to represent the strong relationship between the UN and the United States. And, it will stand as a symbol of our collective aspiration that forests be appreciated for what they are to all of us: our home, our biodiversity, and our livelihood.
So, let’s get digging!