JOIN US ON OUR COMBINED COMMEMORATION; AFRICA ENVIRONMENT DAY AND WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 2015
- Published: Wednesday, 04 March 2015 15:58
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The 2015 Africa Environment Day will be commemorated jointly with the World Wildlife Day. The event will be co-hosted by The Environmental management Agency (EMA) and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife authority (ZIMPARKS) on the 5th of March 2015, at Nyamhunga Stadium, in Kariba, Mashonaland West.
AFRICA ENVIRONMENT DAY
Africa Environment Day, celebrated annually on 3 March, was established by the then Organization of African Unity in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of the pressing environmental challenges facing the continent. Since 2012, the Africa Environment Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Wangari Maathai Day, in order to pay tribute to the late Nobel Laureate's green legacy.
During the 2012 Session of the General Assembly of the African Union, the Assembly decided to recognize Prof Wangari Maathai’s numerous achievements in her capacity as the first Presiding Officer of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU –ECOSOCC), African Union Peace Ambassador, Founder of the Green Belt Movement, Goodwill Ambassador to the Congo Basin Forest Initiative, UN Peace Messenger for Environment and Climate, and UNEP Champion of the Earth. In so doing they designated 3 March as Wangari Maathai Day to be observed in conjunction with Africa Environment Day, each year beginning in 2012.
As a nation, we value this day which served as a platform to promote an in-depth understanding of the practices to be undertaken by; communities, civic society, industry and other sectors towards environmental protection. This year’s Africa Environment Day commemoration is focusing on the “Youths and Environmental Management” with particular focus on waste management. The 2015 Wangari Maathai Day theme is drawn from Wangari Maathai’s 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture:
“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process. In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground, a time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now. I would like to call on young people to commit themselves to activities that contribute toward achieving their long-term dreams. They have the energy and creativity to shape a sustainable future. To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world. You are our hope and our future.”
The theme seeks to promote Environmental Education and Community empowerment amongst the Youth and Institutions of higher education; by re-affirming the importance of all levels of education and training towards sustainable development. The unfolding phenomena of climate change, biodiversity depletion, desertification, land degradation and irrational use of finite natural resources remain serious preoccupations for Africa as they pose real impediments to her sustainable development efforts. The African Union calls for great mobilization to overcome the environmental challenges so as to ensure a better future for the Africans.
WORLD WILDLIFE DAY
The United Nations General Assembly has recently proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora, since 2014. In so doing, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognized the important role the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) plays in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species.
On this second observance of the Day, the UN system, its Member States and a wide range of partners from around the world are highlighting the simple yet firm message that “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime”.
Illegal trade in wildlife has become a sophisticated transnational form of crime, comparable to other pernicious examples, such as trafficking of drugs, humans, counterfeit items and oil. It is driven by rising demand, and is often facilitated by corruption and weak governance. There is strong evidence of the increased involvement of organized crime networks and non-Stated armed groups.
Illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law and threatens national security; it degrades ecosystems and is a major obstacle to the efforts of rural communities and indigenous peoples striving to sustainably manage their natural resources. Combatting this crime is not only essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development; it will contribute to achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by these illegal activities.
Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building material, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories. Law enforcement efforts must be supported by the wider community. Businesses and the general public in all countries can play a major role by, for example, refusing to buy or auction illegal ivory and rhinoceros horn, and insisting that products from the world’s oceans and tropical forests have been legally obtained and sustainably sourced.
Parastatals, local authorities, residents associations, civil society, media fraternity, industry, tertiary and research institutions, schools and the general publicare cordially invited for the commemoration.
However all our 10 provinces will commemorate Africa Environment Day under the given theme “Youth and the Environment” focusing on waste management issues. The commemoration events will target schools as the main audience. There is need to foster environmental stewardship among the youth of the school going age.
The commemorations will take various forms from symposiums to outdoor events where schools/clubs share experiences, challenges and strategies in their quest to tackle waste management challenges. Schools will have the opportunity to showcase their waste management projects.
EMA kindly requests all Zimbabweans to be responsible citizens who do not litter but instead make use of waste receptacles provided. Furthermore, public transport operators are required to place waste receptacles in their vehicles so as to minimize littering on the roads. Moreover, travellers are encouraged to place litter in the bins provided in the buses or commuter omnibuses they will be travelling in. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our country clean and together we can achieve a clean, safe and healthy environment.