3 October 2016, Geneva, Switzerland – The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, with United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR Executive Director, Nikhil Seth, today planted a second generation A-bombed Ginkgo biloba sapling on the grounds of the Ariana Park, at the European Headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Joining them on this memorable occasion were Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, H.E. Ambassador Ihara, UNOG Director-General Mr. Michael Møller, Mayor of Ypres and Vice-President of the Mayors for Peace, Mr. Jan Durnez, President of the ICRC, Mr. Peter Maurer, and master-gardener, Mr. Chikara Horiguchi, of Green Legacy Hiroshima (GLH) Initiative.
The GLH volunteer movement was started in 2011 by Nassrine Azimi of UNITAR and Tomoko Watanabe of ANT-Hiroshima, and it aims to disseminate the universal message of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by sharing worldwide the double message of caution and hope that the survivor trees of Hiroshima represent, recalling the dangers of arms of mass destruction and nuclear weapons, as well as the sacred character of mankind and the resilience of Nature.
Some 170 trees of about 20 different species, in 55 locations within the roughly 2km radius of the hypocenter of the Atomic Bomb, are officially registered by Hiroshima Municipality as A-bombed trees. Lovingly cared for over the years by ordinary citizens, they are identified by all as "hibakujumoku" survivor trees. The Ginkgo biloba sapling that was planted today is a direct descendent of one of the oldest living trees in Hiroshima’s historical Shukkeiin Garden.
Currently seeds and saplings from Hiroshima’s A-bombed trees are being raised by GLH partners in some 30 countries. Mayors for Peace, the Secretariat of which is in Hiroshima, has joined the movement, and is actively seeking the engagement of its more than 7000 member cities in the survivor tree planting campaign, for a vision of a nuclear-free and more ecological planet.
About Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative
Green Legacy Hiroshima has been established to safeguard and spread worldwide the seeds and saplings of Hiroshima’s A-Bomb survivor trees. It is hoped that many partners will join this initiative and become active ambassadors in their countries of Hiroshima, its peace message and its green legacy. http://www.unitar.org/greenlegacyhiroshima
Speech by Mr. Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary-General and the Executive Director of UNITAR (PDF, 15 KB)
Switzerland: Ceremony recalls dangers of nuclear weapons (6 August 2013)
Photo 1: (From right to left) UNOG Director-General Mr. Michael Møller, (the Ginkgo biloba sapling), UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Mrs. Ban, UNITAR Executive Director, Mr. Nikhil Seth, H.E. Ambassador Ihara.
Photo 2: UN Secretary-General planting the tree
Photo 3: Plaque
All photos credited to UNITAR