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More than 350 million saplings were planted all over Ethiopia on July 29th, shattering the previous record for the largest number of trees planted in a single day.
Staff from ECHO and the EU Delegations to Ethiopia and to the African Union joined forces at Gulele Botanical Garden, in the hills above Addis Ababa, to plant dozens of trees with their bare hands. Personnel from local government and NGOs, the African Union, UN organisations, and embassies from all continents were also present at Gulele, one of hundreds of tree-planting sites across the country.
The government-led campaign calls for volunteers and civil servants to plant 4 billion trees this rainy season in an effort to restore soils and reverse deforestation in Ethiopia, which has lost most of its historical forest cover. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 2.6 billion saplings have been planted so far in this campaign.
"This massive effort will make an impact on greenhouse gases over the long term. Once these trees are mature, they'll capture millions of tonnes of carbon every year. This is an initiative that should be repeated every year" said Dominique Davoux, ResilienceTeam Leader at the EU Delegation to Ethiopia.
The European Union is Ethiopia's foremost partner in the fight against climate change. On 22 July 2019, the EU and the Ethiopian government signed a €36 million financing agreement to help the country grow greener. Ethiopia is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and the EU grant will help mitigate its impacts and reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions.