Ethiopian Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed launched the Second Green Legacy Campaign on 5 June 2020, World Environment Day.
The Government plans to plant 5 billion seedlings this year. Over four billion were reportedly planted in the First Green Legacy Campaign organized in 2019 during the Ethiopian rainy season, which runs from the beginning of June to end of August.
A record number of nearly 354 million trees were planted in a single day on what the Government named Green Legacy Day, 29 July 2019, although the Government’s plan had been to plant 200 million trees. Almost all Government offices were closed on that day as civil servants were out to plant trees. The Ethiopian media highly promoted the event with a countdown and the people of Ethiopia, young and old, planted trees enthusiastically. Media reported that over 80% of the trees planted last year have survived owing mainly to close follow-up by the people and good rainfall.
In a video message posted on social media, the Prime Minister said that the previous year and this year’s campaigns are part of the Government’s plan of planting 20 billion seedlings over four years.
More than 24,000 nurseries across the nation have been busy for the past several months raising seedlings in preparation for the campaign. Seedlings raised by farmers will also be planted.
Girma Eshete in a Cordia africana breeding seed orchard established by PATSPO in August 2018. Photo: World Agroforestry/Eyob Getahun
ICRAF, through its project, Provision of Adequate Tree Seed Portfolio in Ethiopia (PATSPO), is exerting utmost effort to produce quantities of quality seeds for the forest-restoration strategy of Ethiopia, which is aimed to be realized by 2030. The project has so far established 14 breeding seed orchards, all of which will produce high-quality tree seeds.
Beginning 5 June 2020, a recorded message by Prime Minister Ahmed, which calls upon the people to be part of the planting campaign, is being played on telephone calls while the caller waits until the call is answered.
Girma Eshete, ICRAF senior forester with PATSPO, says this is an innovative effort by the Prime Minister to mobilize the people for the campaign, which is contributing to radical forest-landscape transformations and better livelihoods.
‘I have never seen such strong leadership commitment in this country,’ said Eshete. ‘Such leadership can easily mobilize the people to carry out environmental protection work that can make a big difference in greening this country.’
According to Prime Minister Ahmed, in last year’s campaign, more than 20 million Ethiopians were engaged.
A Cordia africana breeding seed orchard established under the PATSPO project in Addis Ababa. Photo: World Agroforestry/Eyob Getahun
Trees will be planted both in rural and urban areas during the campaign. In the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, not only the city’s mayor but also top religious leaders planted trees on 5 June, 2020. The involvement of the religious leaders at the event, who transmitted key messages on the importance of trees, is expected to encourage their laity to follow suit. The city administration plans to plant 7 million seedlings during this year’s campaign.
Shimelis Abdissa, President of Oromia Regional State, the country’s largest and most populous region, launched the Second Green Legacy campaign in his State on the same day, where 3.5 billion of the 5 billion trees are planned to be planted this year.
‘Our Green Legacy initiative is critical to Ethiopia’s aspirations to build a green and climate-resilient economy,’ Prime Minister Ahmed said, concluding his campaign message.
He also urged the people of Ethiopia to plant trees while at the same time protecting themselves from COVID-19.