The Billion Tree Campaign has passed the three billion planted tree mark following a confirmation from the Government of Turkey that it planted over 300 million trees in 2008.
According to the Turkish Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Mr. S. Levent Sahinkaya, "A total of 305,362,000 trees were planted by the Turkish Government and the Turkish civil society in the year 2008. We believe that investing in our environment is investing in our future, and we consider the planting of over 300 million trees as a marvelous gift to our children and to the generations to come. The Turkish government will continue investing in the environment and is committed to the creation of an environment-friendly economy."
Turkey has had an impressive tree planting record since the launch of the campaign, planting over 400 million trees in 2007. With slightly over 700 million trees planted to date, Turkey now attains second position in the list of top ten countries in the campaign's roll of honour. The leading country remains Ethiopia with 725 million trees planted.
Meanwhile the PRAIS Foundation, an organization in Romania, in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Environment and the National Environmental Guard and other partners, have confirmed that they have planted over eleven million trees through the national tree planting movement 'Millions of People, Millions of Trees'.
"The PRAIS Foundation is very proud that the movement is formally recognized by UNEP, and has become part of the Plant for Planet global initiative", said Silvia Bucur, the President of the PRAIS Foundation.
Roll of Honour: Top countries
1. Ethiopia - 725,945,094
2. Turkey - 707,540,533
3. Mexico - 472,404,266
4. Kenya - 139,893,668
5. Cuba - 137,476,771
6. Indonesia - 100,335,946
7. India - 84,027,466
8. People's Republic of China - 53,950,418
9. Rwanda - 50,051,007
10. Republic of Korea - 46,723,157
11. Peru - 46,555,894
In total, 3,071,704,993 trees have been planted around the world. So far, another 1,578,796,459 trees have been pledged and have yet to be planted.
The Billion Tree Campaign, spearheaded by UNEP, was unveiled in 2006 as one response to the threat but also the opportunities of global warming, as well as to the wider sustainability challenges from water supplies to biodiversity loss.
The campaign, which is under the patronage of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan Green Belt Movement founder Professor Wangari Maathai and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, has set a new ambitious target of seven billion trees to be planted by the climate change conference that will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.
In a call to action, UNEP is making an appeal to UN Peacekeeping missions and the armed forces of the world to also join in the campaign by planting trees in areas where they operate. UNEP is further inviting all people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments to join this global tree planting initiative by registering tree planting commitments on the campaign's website