Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Announces Partnership to Bring New Yorkers Together to Seed Afghanistan's Growth
Initial 80,000 trees will revitalize orchards, nurseries and woodlots
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced the launch of the New York Partnership for a Green Afghanistan, an initiative to replant trees to revitalize Afghanistan's orchards, nurseries, woodlots and greenbelts. The people-to-people tree-planting program is designed to help Afghanistan regain its historic position as the "orchard of Central Asia" and support Afghans as they rebuild their orchard, vineyard and forestry businesses.
The announcement was made in conjunction with a tree planting ceremony that took place in Kabul, Afghanistan earlier today. The ceremony, which was attended by President Hamid Karzai, marked the beginning of a major tree planting campaign in the country.
The group is organized under the auspices of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan (GFPA), founded soon after 9/11 by New Yorkers and Afghan Americans in recognition of the tragedies suffered by both countries. To lead the project launch, the Global Partnership for Afghanistan is developing family-owned orchards, nurseries and woodlot businesses encompassing an initial 70,000 trees. Afghan farmers will begin planting today following the completion of demonstration orchards and nurseries last year.
The Partnership will include private citizens and organizations -- from non-profits and corporations to educational institutions across the state and beyond -- to support Afghanistan's economic and environmental development.
In making the announcement today, Senator Clinton confirmed that The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, American Forests and International Paper had all signed on as initial partners in this important effort.
As part of the Partnership, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) will immediately reach out to Kabul University to support a university-to-university exchange for forestry faculty and students. Additionally, SUNY-ESF has donated 10,000 willows that can be used as a woody crop for fuel and bio-energy. The Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will contribute expertise in the areas of fruit breeding, production and disease and insect management, vital to the revitalization of Afghan fruit farms. American Forests, a nonprofit conservation organization, is seeking support from corporate and individual sponsors for this critical effort.
Senator Clinton also announced the creation of a dedicated fund coordinated by GPFA, a NY-based nonprofit organization, and urged supporters to send contributions for spring tree planting.
"After more than a quarter-century of war, nearly 28 million Afghans are struggling to rebuild their livelihoods and communities in the face of destroyed homes, roads and infrastructure, a devastated natural environment and a shattered economy," said Senator Clinton, who recently returned from Afghanistan. "New Yorkers want to support this struggling democracy. The New York Partnership for a Green Afghanistan is an important step toward helping Afghans regain self-sufficiency, rebuild a viable economy and achieve political stability."
"Known as the orchard of Central Asia in the 1980s, the country was recognized throughout the region for its harvest and export of quality fruits. Today, Afghanistan has lost the large majority of its orchards and vineyards. Once a net agricultural exporter, the country is now a net importer. This effort is another step in helping revitalize the country from the ground up," said Senator Clinton.
"I am so pleased that we have brought so many New Yorkers together to help Afghanistan -- and this is just the beginning. New York's farmers, growers and research institutions are world-class. They have so much to contribute to this campaign through their knowledge of forestry and their growing and research techniques," Senator Clinton said. "I am so pleased that they can bring this expertise to not only help deliver food, income and a range of vital environmental benefits to the people of Afghanistan, but to help restore lives and livelihoods."
"I have personally witnessed the generosity of the American people as I revisit the Afghan countryside," said GPFA Co-chair Professor M. Ishaq Nadiri. "With US support, Afghanistan is rebuilding roads, infrastructure and security. Now we need to help Afghans restore livelihoods. Acres of scorched earth stand and dried fields stand where Afghans once cultivated flourishing orchards and vineyards, and the country struggles today to feed its population." Professor Nadiri serves as senior economic advisor to President Karzai in Kabul and is the Jay Gould Professor of Economics at New York University.
"The leadership of Senator Clinton in launching this people-to-people initiative will provide lasting benefits to Afghanistan whose people so urgently need the creativity, expertise and financial resources that America can deliver," said Prof. Nadiri. "Through the Global Partnership's work, we know first-hand how Afghans deeply value our concrete assistance. No one better embodies this spirit than Senator Hillary Clinton in launching this effort."
FACT SHEET - NEW YORK PARTNERSHIP FOR A GREEN AFGHANISTAN
Announced by: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Co-sponsors: Global Partnership for Afghanistan State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences American Forests International Paper
The New York Partnership for a Green Afghanistan
Trees provide a range of valuable products needed in Afghanistan to improve the quality of life -- fruit, nuts, fuelwood, fodder, timber and poles. In addition, each tree provides a wealth of environmental benefits, protecting water, soil, and air.
Under the direct supervision of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan, a U.S. nonprofit organization, tree planting initiatives aimed at quick impact will be launched, including development of orchards, tree nurseries, woodlots and greenbelts. These projects, building upon local skills and best practices, will strive to both protect natural resources and reduce poverty.
Specifically, this program includes:
* Launching a people-to-people tree planting initiative, initially to include 80,000 trees. Funds will be raised via corporate, foundation and private contributors to finance the planting of trees in local Afghanistan communities. These new orchards, woodlots and greenbelts will be sponsored by friends in the US and tended by farm families in Afghanistan.
* In addition to tree planting, the initial partners in the campaign will foster the latest advancements in horticulture and forestry technology with a goal of fast-forwarding Afghanistan's environmental and economic recovery. This includes academic exchange, technical support to modernize Afghanistan's horticultural industry and forest development.
The Partnering Organizations
Global Partnership for Afghanistan (GPFA) works for the re-greening of Afghanistan. From forests to farms, GPFA is a people-to-people capacity building organization working to help Afghans revive orchards, vineyards, and forests. Through the planting of trees and the harvest of tree products, our projects aim for sustainable employment and development. Through loans, planting materials, training, new methodologies and technical expertise, GPFA supports all who work the land in projects that will be self-perpetuating. GPFA, a 501(c) (3) non-profit, is governed by a US-based Board of Directors and is formally registered as a local non-governmental organization with the government of Afghanistan. Checks can be made payable to "GPFA Green Afghanistan," and mailed to PO Box 1237, New York, NY 10276 or via www.gpfa.org/greenafghanistan. Contributions to GPFA are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) was founded in 1911 in response to a growing awareness of the need for forest conservation. It expanded its scope to include such essentials of environmental science such as design, engineering, life sciences and resource management. The college is a doctoral-granting institution, recognized and emulated around the world for its focused research and service programs that reach across the globe in the search for new knowledge and for its mission to improve the quality of life. From its start, the college has served the state, nation and world in meeting the needs of its citizens through education, research and public service.
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, celebrating its centennial year, has more than 370 faculty members with expertise in diverse disciplines that impact agriculture on a global scale. The College has a long tradition of international cooperation by its faculty members addressing global issues that impact development.
American Forests, founded in 1875, works to protect, restore and enhance the natural capital of trees and forests through forest assessments, conservation policy, and action programs to plant trees. Its Global ReLeaf program has planted over 20 million trees since 1990 to restore damaged forest ecosystems across America and throughout the world.
International Paper, businesses include paper, packaging and forest products. As one of the largest private landowners in the world, IP professional foresters and wildlife biologists manage the woods with great care in compliance with the rigorous standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program. The SFI program is an independent certification system that ensures the perpetual planting, growing and harvesting of trees while protecting biodiversity, wildlife, plants, soil, water and air quality. In the U.S. alone, IP protects more than 1.5 million acres of unique and environmentally important habitat on its forestlands through conservation easements and land sales to environmental groups. And, the company has a long-standing policy of using no wood from endangered forests. Headquartered in the United States, International Paper has operations in over 40 countries and sells its products in more than 120 nations.