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UN environmental agency launches global tree planting campaign

UN environmental agency launches global tree planting campaign

Youth leaders from nearly 40 countries gathering in Nairobi to promote young peoples' contributions to worldwide environmental protection, are set to launch an international tree-planting campaign that initially will plant 4,000 seedlings to restore the forests of Kenya, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.

The launch of the campaign, "Plant for the Planet," one of the highlights for delegates attending the Global Youth Retreat - which kicks off tomorrow and runs through 8 February - is taking place parallel to the UNEP Governing Council meeting. The retreat will also see the election of a Youth Advisory Council to UNEP.

According to the agency, over 50 young people will join with Kenyan school children and an international group of environment ministers on 8 February at the Ngong Forest Sanctuary to plant 4,000 trees. The campaign is aiming to see more than a million seedlings planted to restore the native and rare indigenous trees to forests in Kenya.

UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer, said today he hoped the retreat would inspire youth to take the torch of a fairer, healthier and more equitable world forward. "Young people have a critical role to play in shaping the environment and helping to deliver a less poverty-riven world now, and in the future," he added.

Mr. Toepfer noted with concern that young people are some of the biggest consumers of goods such as mobile phones, computers and other electronic equipment. That pattern of behaviour was especially troubling in developing countries where much of the so-called "E-waste" ended up. "So the consumption patterns of the young are crucial in our push to deliver sustainable development," he said.