I have the number “14” in my age, somewhere, though I was born in 1926, in Rome. Guess who I am? I occur every six years and I deal with jungles. This year I found myself where wildlife and big forests reside: Durban, South Africa. I have been looking for a land like this for almost a century now, and this year my dreams have come true.
I am the World Forest Congress, and I have finally come to Africa.
I will be gathering more than 3,000 people from around the world for five full days under a common theme, Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future. I will give you an opportunity to express yourself on how you protect your forests. I will open my door for you to exhibit your knowledge and expertise, since I am your show room. Whenever you are threatened, come to me and I will help you raise your voice. I will welcome you at more than 100 side events and exhibitions.
Forests are being destroyed and burnt, wildlife is vanishing, land is exhausted, water resources are polluted, and global warming is increasing. This is the time for you to connect people and forests, proposals and action, life and sustainable development.
I have heard more than 20 ministers and deputy ministers from around the world speaking. Why are they here? Are they just talking or are they going to take real action? They have presented their statistics. Now I want to see results.
I don’t want my arena to be a place for jokes and pleasures or tourism; I want it to be a place where forests can regain life and hope, where people are refreshed and protected. I want my arena to be the place where nature is green, where clean water flows, where communities rejoice and sing and where the climate is fresh and cool.
Most of the locals are not here but let’s hope their concerns will be taken into consideration. Let my recommendations and decisions improve their lives.
From 7-11 September, the world‘s forests are kneeling down to hear a hopeful message from me, so I need actions, implementation and protection. I am ambitious and I want my dreams to become a reality. I am challenging you to protect my jungles.
I am still young but I am old enough to act, to act for forests and for people. Help me to realize my dreams!
Blogpost based on input by Kiki Tassi – kitas002(at)gmail.com
Picture courtesy – Boris Rantasa