A delegation of participants in the Russia–Africa Summit and the Russia–Africa Economic Forum led by Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin planted coniferous tree seedlings at the Southern Cultures Arboretum in Sochi on 23 October and, in doing so, reached the planned goal of planting 30 million seedlings as part of the ‘Save the Forest’ national campaign.
The event was part of an ambitious nationwide reforestation campaign launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources in September. “It’s very symbolic that we opened the first international Russia–Africa Summit by planting trees at the park in Sochi. The campaign will continue for another week and a half, which means that 30 million will not be the final figure”, Kobylkin said.
The landmark event laid the foundation for the revival of Russian–African relations and demonstrated that such issues as ecology, conservation, and the restoration of natural wealth are the same for all countries and peoples. “The problem of forest conservation and restoration is not only particularly acute in Russia, but throughout the world. I believe that the successful implementation of our ‘Save the Forest’ project can and should be built upon internationally. I am passing on the symbolic baton of reforestation to our African friends”, Kobylkin said.
The ‘Save the Forest’ campaign, which was initiated by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, is being held to support the regions most affected by forest fires in the summer. To date, more than three million Russians have provided support for the campaign. The tree planting at Southern Cultures Arboretum was attended by President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Acting President of Mauritius Barlen Vyapoory, President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and other official representatives of the delegations of countries participating in the Forum.
The Southern Cultures Arboretum is located in Sochi’s Adler District, not far from Olympic Park, where the events of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum and Summit are being held. The seedlings were grown in the Arboretum’s greenhouses and are well adapted to the climatic conditions of the region. They were planted in the lower part of the complex where coniferous and evergreen trees with massive crowns are traditionally grown.
Over time, the fir trees planted by the Summit delegates will harmoniously blend into the landscape architecture of the Arboretum, which was founded more than 100 years ago.
The event as part of the ‘Save the Forest’ campaign kicked off the programme of the Russia–Africa Summit, which is being co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and African Union Chairman Abdelfattah Al-Sisi. The Summit will now move on to the business component, which is devoted to prospects for Russia’s diversified relations with African countries, and then the first Russia–Africa Economic Forum.
Kobylkin’s itinerary for today includes participation in the plenary session ‘Russia and Africa: Uncovering the Potential for Cooperation’, the session ‘Russian–African Collaboration in the Diamond Industry’, and a series of working meetings with colleagues and heads of state of African countries.
The Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum will take place on 23–24 October in Sochi at the Sirius Park of Science and Art. The events are being organized by the Roscongress Foundation, and the co-organizers of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum are Russian Export Center and Afreximbank.