07 November 2022
On 02 November, the Head of European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the Kosovo Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Faton Peci, and the Chief Sustainable Development and Partnerships Advisor of the Kosovo President's Office, Learta Hollaj, helped in planting 40 trees at the Students’ Center of the University of Pristina, currently hosting around 4,000 students.
The tree planting ceremony was hosted by the General Director of the Students’ Center, Fatmir Sfishta, who thanked EULEX for the support.
The “Carbon Offsetting through Tree Planting Initiative” is a joint project of EULEX and NGO “Keep it Green” aimed at partially offsetting the Mission’s carbon footprint and at contributing to the mitigation of the harming effects caused by air pollution in Kosovo.
The Head of EULEX recalled the commitment of the Mission to supporting the environment through such activities, highlighting how this is connected to the rule of law: “You may think: what does rule of law and EULEX have to do with planting trees and forestry? It is all about rule of law,” Wigemark said, adding: “Cutting down trees, so destroying forestry - if you don’t have a permission, of course, to cut down the tree - is a crime.”
Wigemark also recalled that the President Office’s Initiative aims at planting one million trees and invited the Kosovo’s diaspora to join the pledge: “You have about 1 million people -I believe- in the diaspora, so, if each one plants a tree, you will reach this goal pretty quickly.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Faton Peci, praised the initiative noting its symbolic relevance.
“This activity, which, at first sight, may seem symbolic because of the number of the trees planted, is part of the goal of planting one million trees,” Peci said, adding: “This becomes even more important as we took part, symbolically, in planting these trees within the University Campus. Just like the Campus is a synonym of preparing Kosovo’s future leaders, planting these trees within the Campus symbolizes improving the environment.”
The “Carbon Offsetting through Tree Planting Initiative” was launched on Earth Day, on 22 April 2022, when the Mission planted 3,200 pine seedlings in the restricted area of the Kosovo A power plant in Obiliq/Obilić. On 30 May, EULEX and “Keep it Green” planted trees in the schoolyard of the School “Naim Frashëri” in Gllogoc/Glogovac.
The final phase of the initiative envisages the planting of additional trees in selected planting spots, which have been identified by the Kosovo Forestry Agency in line with the “1 million trees” campaign, launched by the Office of the President of Kosovo, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure.