Earth Day Launch Event – 22 April 2024

April 22, 2024

Honourable, Minister Aliu, Minister Çeku, Minister Peci, Minister Nagavci,

Your Excellencies Ambassadors,

Dear representatives of the Municipality of Pristina, development partners, and media,

Dear children,

It is a great honour to co-host today, but also in the days to come, a series of events around the celebration of Earth Day. These events, and our collective presence, are a testament to us taking joint action for our planet.

The Earth Day campaign is a powerful longstanding partnership of UNDP, the Office of the President and the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure. The platform this year is growing, and we are delighted to be joined by additional friends, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, different public enterprises, a growing number of development partners, and local civil society.

But why are we here? Unsustainable production and consumption patterns are threatening the present and the future. These practices result in climate change, pollution, and environmental degradation. People all over the world, including in Kosovo, are feeling the consequences in the form of heatwaves, floods, and other natural disasters. We have therefore a responsibility to act now and take concrete steps to protect our planet for (these) future generations.

The global theme of this year's Earth Day – is Planet vs. Plastics, and the art installation created by Driton Selmani, as part of UNDP’s global Climate Promise Project, is a strong representation of this environmental challenge.

This piece called the Wall or the Tilted Promise, deliberately uses discarded plastic bags, upcycled wood and other recycled materials, forming an installation which is a reminder of the effects that waste has on the path towards a more sustainable future.

To give you a daunting figure,there are some 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans as we speak. These outnumber stars in the Milky Way 500 times over.

The children we have here today will draw their promises on the wall later on to illustrate the very message that the installation wants to convey. Let’s make sure we don’t let them down.

The installation will remain here, at the Campus of the University of Prishtina, until the 5th of May. Then, it will be dismantled into smaller components, remodelled, and exhibited across various institutions as a reminder of a grim future if we do not all act together now.

As we mark Earth Day, let us all commit to doing our part in protecting our planet and staying true to the promises crafted by the children here today. We must work together to restore our planet, not just for ourselves, but for them. UNDP has and continues to commit to supporting institutions in addressing environmental challenges and combating climate change.

I would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of our partners to the global fund of Climate Promise, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. 

Finally, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the great partners of Earth Day including the Office of the President, the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Culture, Education, and Economy, the Municipality of Pristina, the Library of Kosovo, the University of Prishtina, and Doku Fest, as well as all other partners present here today.

Let’s make every day the Earth Day. The future of our children and the generations to come depends on us taking action now.

Thank you.