23 June 2014
22nd session of the Committee on Forestry
Prince Laurent of Belgium, FAO Special Ambassador for Forests and the Environment
Your Royal Highness Prince Laurent of Belgium,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank Prince Laurent of Belgium for having accepted FAO’s invitation to become our Special Ambassador for Forests and the Environment.
As you all know, the United Nations has a tradition of enlisting the support of prominent individuals to underline priority issues of the organization and to draw attention to its activities.
Today, we have the opportunity, with the appointment of Prince Laurent, to further highlight the importance given by FAO to forests and sustainable development.
In his capacity as Special Ambassador, Prince Laurent will be able to help FAO raise awareness and foster policy dialogue on issues related to the sustainable management of forests and natural resources.
I am convinced that his involvement will send a strong message to the international community that sustainable management of resources is an essential means to achieve adequate access to food and water for all.
In addition, I am certain that he will contribute to one of humanity’s greatest collective enterprises: eradicating hunger in our lifetime.
There are many things I could say about the career and character of our new Special Ambassador.
His engagement and longstanding efforts to promote global development and sustainable technologies speak for themselves.
For 25 years, he acted as Chairman of the Royal Institute for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and the Promotion of Clean Technologies, which promoted the conservation of nature and the development of clean technologies, taking into account economic and social factors.
At the European level, Prince Laurent is the Chairman of the European Research Group for Alternative Toxicity Testing (ERGATT).
There is also much to praise about his current role as President of the Prince Laurent Foundation, which is dedicated to animal welfare.
As the 22nd session on the Committee on Forests kicks off today, I hope that Prince Laurent’s passion will be taken as an additional inspiration for the busy week we have ahead.
Thank you for your attention.