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Celebrating the International Day of Biodiversity with a forest message in a bottle

Published: 22 May 2014

An old forester tradition is to bury a message for future generations underneath the roots when a tree is planted. The message will lie there for decades—maybe centuries—until a future generation finds it. The message becomes a time capsule for posterity that bears reflections, hopes, and wishes on forests, trees, and the earth.

UNECE/FAO Joint Forestry and Timber Section took this tradition to celebrate the International Day of Biodiversity on the grounds of the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

“Each spring,” said Mr Michael Møller, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Acting Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, “trees represent rebirth as they begin a new cycle of seasons and I believe that the Palais is also, through our heritage plan, in the process of witnessing a new spring”.

Ms Sandra Aviles, Officer-in-Charge of the FAO Office in Geneva, reminded how “Globally, millions of people depend on forests for their livelihood - directly through the consumption and sale of foods harvested in forests, and indirectly through forest-related employment and income generation, forest ecosystem services, and forest biodiversity”.

This Tree Planting also had a symbolic meaning. Mr Møller explained: “This gesture [burying a message underneath the tree’s roots] symbolizes our commitment, as the United Nations, to building a bridge to future generations and contributing to a better world. [The Tree Planting ceremony] also represents our effort to modernize and improve our work by creating fruitful partnerships with government and the private sector”. In a similar fashion, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland to WTO and EFTA, Minister Marc Wey, also commented: “It’s highly symbolic to plant a tree and deposit a message that will survive us […] it humbles us […] and it’s important to find a moment to become humble in this frenetic world”.

The trees planted were donated to the UN on the occasion of the Fashion for Forest event. Today’s ceremony recognized and thanked the Swiss Permanent Mission to the United Nations for its substantial support to the UNECE/FAO activities, and the Clean Forest Club and the Ecole d'Horticulture de Lullier for their generous support during the 2014 International Day of Forests.  

To know more about the UNECE/FAO Joint Forestry and Timber Section, click here: http://www.unece.org/forests.html

To know more about the Strategic Heritage Plan, please follow this link: http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600581D0E/%28httpPages%29/95C60EC8C4774E1B8025771C0051EC81?OpenDocument

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