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3 years ago

• Mr. Chairman • Dr. the Honourable Roodal Moonilal, Minister of ...

• Mr. Chairman • Dr. the Honourable Roodal Moonilal, Minister of ...

2Year

2Year of Forests 2011 and the commemoration of World Wetlands Day2011.I bring you greetings and apologies on behalf of Dr. de Castro whocould not be here this morning due to UNDP’s regional commitmentswhich have taken her to Curacao. She wishes you a very successfullaunch and I now bring you remarks on her behalf.We consider it a privilege to have been asked to speak at this eventwhich serves to highlight the importance of forests and wetlands, criticalnational and global assets.Whether terrestrial forests or forested wetlands, forests contributesignificantly to national and global development, livelihoods and humanwell being. Forests are often referred to as the “lungs of the world” byabsorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Forests and wetlandsare vital to maintaining the supply and quality of freshwater. They playan integral part in the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people worldwide,supply the habitat for millions of species and play a critical role inmitigating the effects of climate change. With this in mind the UnitedNations established the International Year of Forests 2011 and invitedworld governments, non governmental organizations and the privatesector to make a concerted effort to raise awareness to strengthenconservation and sustainable development of forests. In recognition of

3the inextricable link between forests and wetlands the internationaltheme for World Wetlands Day 2011 therefore became "wetlands andforests - forests for water and wetlands" since the health of ourwetlands, whether forested or not, is linked to the health of forests in ourcatchments. Losing and degrading forests means losing and degradingwetlands.UNDP would like to commend the government of Trinidad and Tobagoon this event today which signals the country’s commitment toparticipate fully in these global efforts.UNDP’s own programme of support in Trinidad and Tobago recognizesthe importance of forests and wetlands and the need for a collaborativeand participatory approach to their management.Currently there are 30 projects funded by the UNDP GlobalEnvironmental Facility-Small Grants Programme which directly impacton forests, the livelihoods which depend on them, and watershedmanagement. Grantees are all Community Based Organisations or Non-Governmental Organisations which focus on a wide range of activities,from reafforestation to agro-forestry and information disseminationusing various media. The initiatives aim to educate and build thecapacity of community members so that they can generate income by

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