On a sunny day like this, as befits The Spring Day, I'm glad to meet you in our wonderful Blinaja to mark the International Forest Day.
Blinaja is the evidence that speaks for itself about the importance of protection and sustainable forest management. Blinaja is also the reason why we must mobilize institutionally and socially towards forest conservation in our country.
I believe that everyone who is present at this event is aware of the importance of forests. But this is not always the case for the good part of society. Like many other issues, when it comes to forest conservation, the 'let the other's worry about that' mentality is often applied. But the responsibility for forest protection, as much as it is institutional and collective, is also individual.
Forests are a source of life and protection of life on earth. As important as they are for the maintenance of human life, of the flora and fauna on earth, we owe it to them to care for them and leave a legacy for generations to come.
Our forests make up 41 percent of the entire territory of the country. Based on a last year's independent research conducted based on satellite images over the last 20 years, we realize that we have lost 7618 hectares of forest. According to the same research, this equates to losing half a football field in forest value, every day since year 2000.
Such a situation is extremely disturbing and painful. Illegal logging along with fires and mismanagement of forests are among the main factors that have influenced this situation.
However, I am glad that today we are here at the invitation of the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Rural Development Mr. Peci, who is showing commitment to change this situation radically and also to be among the friends of the forests, conveying a clear message about the importance of cooperation and institutional coordination for forest conservation.
After all, we can never forget that forests are the main address for our beautiful days spent in nature, are a shelter for animals and a source of food and clean water, they guarantee the preservation and conservation of biodiversity and also help the control of floods and protection of soil from erosion and destruction. After all, the forests are the lungs of our nature – they are the main source of oxygen and the main sequestrator of carbon. Respectively, as I said before – forests are life itself and the guarantors of the existence and well-being of all the people in the world.
This is exactly why for years, on Earth Day, together with Minister Peci and Minister Aliu we have joined forces and pledged to plant 1 million trees within a year to restore some of the damage caused over the years by deforestation. But above all, to give to nature as it gives to us day in and day out.
I want to conclude by talking about one of the concerns that contributes daily to the damage to our forests. Talk about the level of waste in the forests. I want to emphasize that this practice should be stopped immediately. We cannot enjoy nature, forests and nice views and take their best and leave on the other side behind the waste in exchange. Images of spaces overfilled with garbage are encountered during every walk and in every outdoor outing. This is unforgivable, so I appeal to individuals, but also all institutions for systematic work in this regard and for high awareness and responsibility.
Let us protect the forests, in order to protect our own lives!
Have a happy International Forest Day. Thank you!