The United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFF) has nominated the Director of MELCA-Ethiopia, Million Belay, as one of the finalists for the first international Forest Heroes Award of 2011.The announcement was done during the Forest Day at the Climate Change negotiations convened in Durban, South Africa.
“The UNFF Forest Heroes program and Awards was launched as part of our International year of Forests 2011 activities to identify and honour the countless individuals around the world who are dedicating their lives to nurturing forests in quiet and heroic ways” said Ms.jan McAlpine , Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat and member of the jury panel. “The programme aspires to spotlight every day people working to make positive changes for forests.”
Million is nominated as a Forest Hero of 2011 for his over two decades of activism in relation to conservation of existing forest and reforestation of deforested areas in Ethiopia. Some of his activities in relation to forest and forest biodiversity include:
- Ø Coordinating the planting of more than 137,000 indigenous tree seedlings on the hills of Entoto, near the Capital city, Addis Ababa,
- Ø Starting a program called cultural biodiversity in Ethiopia and in seven African countries where children and youth plant trees, learn about the cultural significance of biodiversity and advocate for their protection,
- Ø For coordinating the advocacy and conservation of forests in Ethiopia, notably the Sheka forest;
Three finalists from each region are in the running for one prestigious award in each region. Million is one of the three finalists in Africa. We are also happy to learn that the other one of the three finalists from Africa is our sister Mpathelene Makulele from South Africa, who is also a member of the African Biodiversity Network.
Winners will be announced and awarded at the Forests 2011 closing ceremony at the United Nations in New York in January 2012. Please join us in wishing both Million and Mpathelene a success as both come from the African Biodiversity Network.