The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012.

The day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are  encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees in the form of tree planting campaigns.

This year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Sri Lanka is joining forces through the Sri Lanka UN-REDD Programme with the Forest Department and Climate Change Secretariat of Sri Lanka, as well as SLYCAN Trust, Thuru App Team and IUCN Sri Lanka to organise a one-minute video competition under the theme: Value of Forests as a part of IDF celebrations.

The competition aims to create awareness on the important role played by forests. This includes fighting climate change; regulating weather patterns; providing livelihoods; preserving biodiversity; ensuring water security; preventing natural disasters; and maintaining soil quality.

“Forests play an important role in fighting global warming and regulating climatic conditions. People all over the world are now uniting to protect existing forests and to increase forested areas in order to face this common threat,” states FAO representative in Sri Lanka Nina Brandstrup.

She further stressed the need for creating awareness on the issue on the need to protect forests and its benefits through creative means.

The competition focuses on developing an MP4 or AVI video of a maximum duration of one minute, which could be filmed using a video camera, a smartphone, computer-generated animation or a combination of these. It aims to raise awareness among the public on protecting forests through highlighting benefits in an engaging manner.

“Public needs to play a key role in protecting forests. The more there is awareness on the issue, there is more action taken to protect forests. Campaigns such as this focuses on engaging the public which creates interest on the topic, as well as provides space for them to be part of the solution and change-makers in protecting the environment,” says Vositha Wijenayake the Executive Coordinator of SLYCAN Trust.

The video would be judged on creativity, relevance to theme and clarity of message. The winning entries will receive wide national and international exposure, together with exciting prizes.
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