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100,000 trees to be planted in Azerbaijan by 2020


March 02, 2014

Photo: 100,000 trees to be planted in Azerbaijan by 2020 / Azerbaijan

Coca-Cola in partnership with ADA University is launching a multi-annual project in Azerbaijan - "Plant a Tree. Give a Gift to Life" on Feb. 27. By 2020, the partners will plant 100,000 trees. The project aims to benefit by the ecosystem and promotes a massive afforestation and reforestation in the designated areas of the country to achieve the preservation and replenishment of fresh water resources in Azerbaijan.

The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is referred to as one of less forested countries; forests account for 11.4 percent of the country's territory which is two times less than the accepted global average. Reforestation is one of the main priorities at the agenda of the Ministry.

Saving water by planting trees is a highly efficient and popular mechanism widely considered in at least 1/3 of the world's biggest cities, such as New York, Singapore, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, etc. The forests affect well on water management by increasing rainfall and runoff, regulating flows, reducing erosion and floods, sterilizing water supplies and improving the overall water quality. Also, by providing their shades over the shorter bushes and lawns the trees help to reduce short plants' demand for water. Other than preserving and replenishing water resources, trees prevent air pollution, contribute to chemical cycles as well as the water storage and retention in the planet, and provide energy flow through ecosystem.

The proposed project envisions the planting of thousands of trees, meaning a forestation of a sizeable areal. The project is initially designed to start in capital city-Baku. It will be fully funded by Coca-Cola and implemented by the Caspian Center for Energy and Environment of ADA University.

Galya Molinas, President of Turkey Caucasus and Central Asia BU of Coca-Cola said, that "Water is a key to our sustainability - it is critical to the health and economic prosperity of the local communities. We, as Coca-Cola acknowledge this, and by planting trees within the framework of "Plant a tree, Give a gift to life" program we are hoping to contribute to the resolution of different ecological issues, such as water replenishment, soil erosion and air pollution. It is a tradition to plant a tree on Novruz and we are happy to launch the program right before this very special holiday for Azerbaijanis".

Beyond action on the ground, the project aims to raise public awareness in the country through different outreach activities as well as research works and scientific publications. Volunteers will be also involved in tree planting, with the belief that empowering and involving the youth is one of the best ways to make the endeavor sustainable. This is in line with main philosophy of "Plant a Tree. Give a Gift to Life" project, which believes in the synergy of the golden triangle - government, business and civil society.

Dr. Elnur Soltanov, Chair at Caspian Center for Energy and Environment said in his speech, that "I see a lot of similarity between planting and caring for a tree, and having new students and fostering them at a university. In both cases we do our best to support a fledgling potential which eventually will grow and benefit us all several times over. Both provide the highest possible moral rewards one can imagine".

The project envisages the use of drip irrigation, which will save huge amounts of scarce and precious fresh water in the country.

In 2007, Coca-Cola announced a sustainability effort to "replenish water equivalent to what is used in finished beverages" by the year 2020. On the other hand, ADA University is fully committed to the environmental concerns in Azerbaijan and promotes the environmental goals by owning an eco-friendly and green campus.

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