Stefan Priesner: Welcoming words for Eco Garden tree planting ceremony

Oct 20, 2015


Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the tree planting ceremony to all of you at the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations Organization in Uzbekistan. I would like to extend a special welcome to the Mr. Alikhanov and the Eco Movement of the Parliament of Uzbekistan and express my sincere thanks for co-organizing this event. Many thanks also go to the Hokimyat of Tashkent for the organization of this ceremony.

This is a special day with a special purpose – planting trees together. While Tashkent is already a green city, this is the first UN garden in Central Asia. In thinking about the high symbolic value of this event, four aspects come to mind:

The tree as a symbol for longevity

As we are celebrating the 70 birthday of the founding of the UN we are looking back on an organization that has come of age in a positive sense – a mature organization. Yes, the world is not conflict free and there are many complex problems to be solved, but this is a far cry from 1945. The UN has been able to constantly strengthen its core functions – peace and security, human rights and development – and the slogan “Strong UN – better world” encapsulates the importance of the organization.

The tree as a symbol of sustainability

We all know that 2015 is the year of a new powerful vision for the next 15 years  – the Sustainable Development Goals. As the name suggests the concept of sustainability is at the very centre. There is a stronger recognition than ever before that economic growth cannot happen without taking into account the environmental dimension. As the saying goes, “we have not inherited the world from our ancestors, we have borrowed the world from our children”, who deserve to get handed over this precious planet in a good shape. In this context what could be more symbolic than planting trees?

The tree as a symbol of robustness

Today’s ceremony also stands for the robust cooperation with the Government. In Uzbekistan we have created together a strong vision and agreed on a strong mandate of cooperation in the framework of the new United Nations Development Assistance Framework for 2016-2020. This enables us like never before to collaborate in important reform areas in a quickly changing country.

Finally, we are doing this together as one UN team

It is important to celebrate the fact that we all belong to the same UN family, carrying proudly together the flag of the organization. Let us remember, what a privilege it is to work for the UN. To do this effectively, let us recommit to our core values consonant with the UN Charter: integrity”, “respect for diversity” and “professionalism”.

 And let us be a model of these values in our day to day work in service of our partners and the people of Uzbekistan.

Dear Friends,

We are starting something new today, something exciting. For us it will always be a place where we can come and remember, when we together created a forest in the name of our organization. For all other visitors I hope that this will be a place of peace and tranquility and a garden that flourishes like our organization and our relations with Uzbekistan may flourish.

Thank you!

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