On International Day of Forests FAO reaches out to the youth in Sana’a

On International Day of Forests FAO reaches out to the youth in Sana’a

22/03/2016

On the occasion of the plantation week in Yemen and the International Day of Forests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MAI), the Faculty of Agriculture, and Al-Hamdi’s Steps Institution for Humanitarian Development to sensitize the youth in the Capital, Sana’a City, to the protection of green areas, forests and trees and to encourage tree planting under the theme “A Tree is Shade, Beauty and Economy".

FAO provided 207 trees to be planted over the week in 10 public schools in Amanat Al-Asima (Azal, Shu’aub and Al-Wihda districts) and surrounding areas selected by the Education Office, and the Sana’a University and Faculty of Agriculture. Booklets, posters and other publications were shared with the students to sensitize them to the importance of trees and forests in the conservation of ecosystems, economic and social development and in the protection of livelihoods. Ten students from each school were selected to be trained and to train their peers to different cultivation methods and tree planting in the objective of maintaining trees and green areas within the city of Sana’a.

“Forests play an essential role in addressing water and food security issues, maintaining sustainable production systems and producing more resilient landscapes”, declared Salah Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative in Yemen, at the opening ceremony. He stressed on the importance of forestry products in the local economy and on the role of forests in maintaining ground water levels necessary for agriculture and industrial production systems. 

The depletion of the ground water resources necessary to cover the needs of a growing population of 2.5 million people and agriculture and industrial production in the Sana’a basin is alarming. Forests and trees play a crucial role in the water cycle, from water recharging ground water to contributing to precipitation, acting as natural water filter and even regulating water quantity and quality. “It is important not only to protect forests, but also public gardens” declared Ali Al-Fadhi, Acting Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.

“Forests protection and restoration of degraded forests are essential to reverse climate change” added Salah Hajj Hassan. Globally, FAO collaborates with financial institutions and stakeholders from the private sector to promote more effective public private partnerships for increasing investments and wide scale action, applying an integrated approach to land use, promoting reforestation, water management and resilient food production.

Salah Hajj Hassan concluded his speech highlighting the importance of the collaboration and commitment of FAO, the MAI, governmental and private sectors and all concerned agencies in strengthening forestry related management structures and programmes towards achieving effective and sustainable agricultural development in Yemen. Key officials from related line ministries and Sanaa University and Dr. Sallam, Assistant FAO Representative attended the celebration.