Community police help reforest Timor-Leste

29 Jul 2009

Community police help reforest Timor-Leste

The UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) is one of 11 UN missions participating in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. Led by Community Police officers from the UN and national police service, more than 2,500 native trees have so far been planted in seven districts across the country.

Tree species include tamarind, guava, mango, orange, cloves, cinnamon, coffee, bougainvillea, mahogany and casuarina among others "This is a lesson for everyone, and especially for people in our village," said village leader Adelino de Araujo from Ainaro District. "The trees will protect us. They will give shade to people and help avoid erosion."

The involvement of community police in this activity has being recognized by UN Headquarters through a certificate sent by UNEP Director Achim Steiner thanking UNMIT for its participation in this vital activity.

Community Police Team Leader Premalal Liyanarachchi believes that not only did the activity promote public awareness of environmental issues, but that it "helped to foster positive public perceptions about the role of community police." Riding on the success of the tree planting, community police officers have pledged to plant additional trees in Dili District. Worldwide, more than 4 billion trees have so far been planted keeping UNEP on track to reach its 7 billion target by the end of 2009