MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2016
NEW YORK, NY –The “Save the Earth” Green Corps Campaign is holding an exhibition at United Nations headquarters in New York, USA, from September 27 to October 6. The exhibition features artwork from top artists aimed at highlighting the themes of desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), and raising awareness to help achieve UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 15: “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.”
The opening reception was held at the exhibition space on September 28, and featured remarks from H.E. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the UN, Ambassador Kwon Hyong Byon, President of Future Forest, and Mr. Melchiade Bukuru, Chief of the UNCCD Liaison Office in New York. Hosts Ambassador Kwon, Mr. Bukuru, Mr. Golmohammadi, Secretary-General of WFUNA, and Ms. Park, Director of Korea Foundation, guided Secretary-General H.E. Ban Ki Moon through the display before cutting the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the exhibition.
In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the urgent need to manage the causes and consequences of DLDD, as they currently impede efforts to eradicate poverty and the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda’s promise to “leave no one behind”. He emphasized that “as the population grows, we will need more land and more productivity, not less. We must [achieve them] in a way that is climate resilient and sustainable.” The Secretary-General congratulated the more than 100 countries that have already agreed to set voluntary targets for ending land degradation and stressed that while the Sustainable Development Goals offer a road map for peace, dignity, and prosperity, “that vision depends on maintaining a healthy planet”.
Next we heard from Melchiade Bukuru, Chief of the UNCCD Liaison Office in New York, on behalf of the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Monique Barbut. Mr. Bukuru spoke passionately about how achieving land degradation neutrality would accelerate the fulfillment of the other Sustainable Development Goals, as the poorest and most vulnerable populations are those living with the devastating consequences of DLDD. Ambassador Kwon then spoke about his experience as founder of Future Forest, which has allowed him to spread awareness about the importance of preserving the land, and discover that reversing desertification is possible. Finally, he presented the artists and sponsors with letters of appreciation and invited the guests to enjoy the exhibition.
The “Save the Earth” Green Corps Campaign was launched in 2015 by Future Forest, UNCCD and WFUNA to prevent and counter desertification for a land degradation neutral world. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has encouraged world citizens to participate in the Save the Earth Green Corps campaign, and reiterated that the “bold climate action can set the world on sustainable footing for generations to come, and lay the foundation for prosperity and security for all.”
The exhibition at the UN headquarters in New York comes after two recent initiatives by the “Save the Earth” Green Corps Campaign. An editorial cartoon exhibition was held at the UN headquarters in Geneva in December 2015, featuring a panel discussion on the Outcomes of COP21, the long awaited Conference of the Parties (COP). In August 2016, the Junior Green Corps Desert Work Camp was held in China for 25 middle and high school students and 18 staff to teach youth about desertification issues and provide opportunities to experience cross-sectorial problem solving by participating in a mock roundtable. Participants then visited the desert to conduct hands-on activities to counter desertification as a part of the “Billion Trees in the Desert” program in Kubuqi Desert of the Inner Mongolia region of China.
Since its inception, the campaign has received committed support from the Korea Foundation, who is co-hosting the New York exhibition this year. The exhibition is also sponsored by Samsonite Korea, POSCO, and Subary of China Ltd.