Promoting everyday heroes, sustaining forests for people

On the eve of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly, DESA’s UN Forum on Forests Secretariat launched a video series showcasing the inspiring work of the UNFF Forest Heroes award winners

The Forest Heroes Award programme was part of the International Year of Forests 2011 (Forests 2011) celebration. Six Forest Heroes awards were given to eight remarkable individuals from around the world at the closing ceremony of the International Year of Forests in February 2012.   

Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat and member of the jury, said the UNFF Forest Heroes Awards programme was created to honour individuals around the world who are heroically dedicating their lives to forests. “Each of us, all 7 billion people, has our physical, economic and spiritual health tied to forests. The Forest Heroes embody the compelling message that everyday people can effect positive change for forests everywhere.” 

The award winners are from different parts of the world, of different ages, and impact diverse forests in their own ways. Africa’s Mr. Paul Mzeka is a 78-year-old bee farmer in Cameroon; Asia’s Mr. Shigeatsu Hatakeyama farms oysters in eastern Japan that was devastated by the 2011 tsunami; Europe’s Mr. Anatoly Lebedev advocates for Siberian forests and indigenous tigers; Latin America’s Mr. Paulo Adario campaigns for rainforests and the forest-dependant communities in the Brazilian Amazon; and North America’s Ms. Rhiannon Tomtishen and Ms. Madison Vorva are Girl Scouts from the USA working to raise awareness on the impact of palm oil production on rainforests. In addition, a special award was given posthumously to Mr. José Claudio Ribeiro and Ms. Maria do Espírito Santo, two dedicated advocates in Brazil who were tragically murdered while trying to protect the Amazon forests. 

For more information:

The Forest Heroes Programme and the International Year of Forests

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