Planting trees to mitigate climate change

24 November 2021

The IFRC Southern Africa Cluster Delegation has officially launched the Pan African Tree Planting #IFRC10Million Initiative in the region. The Tree Planting Initiative aims to contribute to the protection, management, and restoration of forests while at the same time addressing the drivers of food insecurity in southern African Communities.

Southern Africa has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of heatwaves over the years caused by changes in regional climate patterns. The number of people suffering from climate change induced food insecurity has increased by over 45% since 2012.

Following the #COP26, the IFRC Southern Africa has developed further responses to the climate crisis through its ambitious goal to plant 10 million trees throughout southern Africa by 2030. Trees will be planted around local schools, community centres and Red Cross properties, as well as being distributed to beneficiaries, to spread the message on the importance of tree conservation while providing for communities' nutritional needs.

Planting trees with Dr Michael Adekunle Charles are (l-r) (photo1) Ambassador of Sweden - Hakan Juholt with Marketing Director for Tetrapak Southern Africa - Niclas Ekstrom (photo 2) Ambassador of Turkey - Ayşegül Kandaş with Abdülaziz Yiğit, Director at the Yunus Emre Institute

Planting trees with Dr Michael Adekunle Charles are (l-r) (photo1) Ambassador of Ireland - Fionnuala Gilsenan (photo 2) High Commissioner of Botswana - Tshenolo Modise (photo 3) Deputy Head of Mission of Denmark - Jacob Stensdal

The official launch of the initiative took place in Daveyton, East of Johannesburg at the Heald Day Care Centre, in collaboration with South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) on Monday, 22 November. The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) Southern African Cluster Delegation made a bold pledge to plant and maintain 25 000 trees across the area as part of Phase 1, making the first contribution to the 10 million tree goal for the region.

Head of IFRC Southern Africa Cluster Delegation, Dr Michael Adekunle Charles, said “Communities in Africa have been some of the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. As we work on the ground, we see the worsening proof as communities become more food insecure. After #COP26 we saw that many of the climate challenges faced on the continent remain unresolved. This is a huge blow to communities who urgently need change. The only way forward is for us to take this climate change bull by the horns and finally come together to tackle this fight. The IFRC has chosen to take this responsibility seriously as we roll out the first phase of our climate mitigation initiatives. “

To execute this initiative, the IFRC Southern Africa Delegation chose a multiphase approach to ensure proper implementation and maintenance in each area for Phase 1, before moving on to the next location in Phase 2. The next phase will be rolled out next year in Botswana and will continue throughout Southern Africa.