Korea Forest Service (KFS), led by Minister Choi Byeong-am, held the Wangari Maathai Award Ceremony at the 15th World Forestry Congress held at COEX in Seoul as a special event on May 5.
Deputy Minister Nam Tae-hun of KFS and Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director- General of FAO and, Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, awarded the winner. Park Eun-sik, the Director-General of the International Affairs Bureau of KFS, hosted the event.
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), an innovative voluntary interagency partnership on forests, was established in April 2001 in response to an invitation issued in the resolution by the Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC).
After the tribute video to Wangari Maathai, Deputy Minister Maria Patek for Forestry and Sustainability of Austria on behalf of the Wangari Maathai Award jury announced the selection criteria and its process. Innovative efforts for conservation, the spirit of Wangari Maathai, and awareness-raising activities in the local community are important selection criteria.
Deputy Minister Nam gave a congratulatory address to the winner and announced the winner of the 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champion Award. Afterwards, Nam and Maria Helena Semedo jointly awarded the award.
The winner of CPF’s 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award is Ms. Cécile Ndjebet of Cameroon, Founder and President of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), an advocacy platform focusing on African women’s tenure rights in land and forest reforms.
She actively contributes to the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of all types of forests through sub-regions of Cameroon and other countries wherein her network operates.
The sixth Wangari Maathai Award was given this year. Wangari Maathai, for whom this award was named, was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004, in recognition of her contributions to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.
She is a Kenyan, who worked with women in Africa for nearly 30 years to lead the Green Belt movement by planting around 30 million trees.
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) first launched the award in 2012 to commemorate Wangari Maathai.
The award is for outstanding individuals who have helped to conserve, restore, and manage forests sustainably; it has raised awareness of the importance of forests in supporting communities, rural livelihoods, women, and the environment.
After presenting the Wangari Maathai Award, 'The forest champions’ view - a special panel of Wangari Maathai award winners followed. The previous Wangari Maathai Award winners shared their experiences of forest conservation..
Deputy Minister Nam said, “It is especially meaningful to award the 6th Wangari Maathai Award in Korea, which is one of the most successful countries in forest restoration. And I hope that the contribution to sustainability of our planet through forests will spread widely by sharing the experiences and challenges of not only the winner of today but also previous winners.”