August 2020, Bambasi, Benishangul-Gumuz Region: - Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative has given a new impetus to UNHCR’s environmental rehabilitation and reforestation programme to plant additional trees. So far during the current rainy season, UNHCR has coordinated the planting of over 755,000 multipurpose trees in the 26 refugee camps across the country, as well as in the neighbouring host community sites. This will continue during the rest of the rainy season.
Earlier this month, UNHCR joined regional and local authorities, representatives of the government refugee agency – ARRA, NGO partners and refugees in planting a variety of tree seedlings at the Bambasi refugee camp in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. The camp shelters approximately 18,000 Sudanese refugees.
The activity was part of the Government’s Green Legacy Initiative, an ambitious undertaking seeking to plant up to 20 billion tree seedlings over a four-year period, 5 billion of which was reportedly planted during the current rainy season.
“On behalf of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, I am happy to be part of this exercise today,” said Jolanda Van Dijk, Head of the UNHCR Office in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region, home to approximately 63,000 Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees. “This initiative is very much in line with UNHCR’s sustainable energy strategy which promotes innovative energy solutions and land restoration projects.”
Bambasi is amongst the greenest of the five refugee camps in the Region, with a tradition of planting trees annually, including 63,000 trees planted over the last couple of months. These include bamboo, acacia, fruit and shade trees.
Climate change contributes to underlying causes of conflict and displacement. From drought and famine, to more frequent extreme weather events, the impacts of climate change are most acutely experienced by the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations, including refugees and their host communities.
The Global Compact on Refugees encourages integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems in or near refugee hosting rural and urban areas.