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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Plants an Olive Tree in Israel

March 27, 2007-- New York, NY -- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon planted the first tree in his life in Israel today saying, “I hope that this young tree I have planted today will be a symbol of the efforts underway to minimize the ecological damage caused by greenhouse gases.”

The ceremony, which took place at the Nations Grove at the foot of Mount Herzl and Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, was conducted by Jewish National Fund (JNF) and included dozens of UN officials and municipal leaders, symbolizing what the Secretary General hopes to be a growing cooperation between Israel and the UN.

The ceremony followed the Secretary General’s visit to Yad VaShem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. “It’s an honor for me to plant an olive tree, whose branches form part of the UN’s symbol, on this site below Yad VaShem,” he said. “The UN as a whole has enlisted in the battle against hatred and anti-Semitism, and just as the General Assembly unanimously condemned Holocaust denial so, today, we are helping member countries operate educational programs on the Holocaust. It was a unique occurrence that has to be remembered and must never be allowed to happen again.”

A special tree-planting certificate was prepared for the Secretary General stating that the tree he planted will absorb 1.5 tons of greenhouse gases during its lifetime, which will help the global environment.

Jewish National Fund will soon launch a worldwide carbon offsetting campaign, with a commitment of planting six million trees in Israel over the next decade as part of the international “Green Belt” campaign declared by the UN, in which a total of one billion trees will be planted around the globe. Trees help to offset human carbon dioxide emissions by absorbing Co2 -- the primary greenhouse gas and main cause of global warming -- from the atmosphere.

Praising JNF’s contribution to the environment, the Secretary General said: “The issue of world climate change is high on the UN agenda. Quite simply, it is a matter of saving the world, with the help of UN member states.

Over the past 100 years, JNF has planted more than 240 million trees which are estimated to have absorbed 110 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

Referring to the trees as “the green medicine to combat global warming,” Efi Stenzler, JNF-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael World Chairman, presented the Secretary General with the first certificate issued for a tree planted to reduce global warming, and said: “As Neil Armstrong said when he took his famous first step on the moon, ‘this is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’”

Captions: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon plants his first tree ever in the Nations Grove in Jerusalem.

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Jewish National Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners—Jewish people everywhere. Over the past century, JNF has planted over 240 million trees, built over 180 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 1,000 parks, provided the infrastructure for 1,000 communities and educated students around the world about Israel and the environment. Today, JNF is restoring northern Israel, making it home again to its residents, and is putting its century of experience to work with Blueprint Negev, supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers in developing the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier.  For more information on JNF or to plant trees in Israel, call 800-542-TREE (8733) or visit www.jnf.org/trees  To contact your local office, please call 888-JNF-0099 or visit http://www.jnf.org/.

 

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