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International Year of Forests Closes with Awards Ceremony

9 February 2012: The International Year of Forests 2011 (IYF) came to an end with closing speeches and an awards ceremony held at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and hosted by the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat.

Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, delivered the welcoming address. The closing event included: announcement of the winners of the 2011 Universal Postal Union's international letter-writing competition, in which children imagined themselves as trees writing to people, as well as the winners of the 2011 International Children's Art Contest to "Celebrate the Forests;" a screening of film clips from the award-winning International Forest Film Festival, organized with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival; and the launch of the "Forest for People" book, with contributions from 75 authors from 35 countries.

In addition, the Forest Heroes Awards were presented, recognizing regional forest heroes for their energy and visionary approach. The awardees were: Paul Nzegha Mzeka (Cameroon), Shigeatsu Hatakeyama (Japan), Anatoly Lebedev (Russian Federation), Paulo Adario (Brazil) and Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva (United States).

Through activities held worldwide throughout 2011, the IYF sought to promote awareness of the issues confronting the world's forests and the people who depend on them, and the vital role of people in the sustainable management of all types of forests. Several governments, regional and international organizations and Major Group members supported activities related to IYF 2011.

The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) noted its promotion of the IYF message through its own work, such as by including approximately 350 tree species in its three Appendices, and by hosting workshops on agarwood, bigleaf mahogany and other tropical timber species. [UN DESA Press Release] [CITES Press Release] [Agenda of IYF Closing Ceremonies]