Statement of UNFF on the passing of Wangari Maathai
26 September 2011 - The forest community has lost a powerful champion with the passing of Nobel Laureate and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Wangari Maathai. In her address at the launch ceremony of the International Year of Forests earlier this year, she stressed that human civilization had always been intertwined with trees and called for action stating that "Governments have a responsibility to ensure that the ecological services provided by trees and forests are available for the common good of all communities, including future generations."
Wangari Maathai, International Year of Forests launch, 2011
Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, DESA said "Wangari Maathai began by planting a single tree, one at a time, and then brought in whole communities to plant. She was a visionary who saw over the tree canopy, but never lost sight of the roots. We have lost a great woman, a wonderful leader and a visionary who made a difference not only in Kenya, but around the world, one tree at a time. Our personal condolences go to her children, Waweru, Wanjira and Muta, and her granddaughter, Ruth Wangari."
Professor Maathai's advocacy for Africa's forests began with the Green Belt Movement in the 1970s and grew to include the Congo Basin forest, and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Her vision for a sustainable future was grounded in empowering communities to take action for a greener, peaceful future. Professor Maathai's work embodied the message of the International Year of Forests that people are the heart of sustainable forest management. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, and was appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2009.
Video of Wangari Maathai
United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat
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