Zambian Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Catherine Namugala, stole the limelight at the United Nations Forum on Forests UNFF9 High Level Segment in New York when foreign journalists besieged her following an impromptu conversation with 13-year old Felix Finkbeiner from Germany over views relating to forests and people.
Ms. Namugala who walked over to the boy accompanied by her Zambian Delegation soon after the closing of the launch of the International Year of Forests Ceremony at United Nations General Assembly Hall, chatted with the boy for about ten minutes.
Zambia’s First Secretary at the UN in New York Moses Walubita says suddenly the discussion between Ms Namugala and Felix caught the attention of the international media, and video cameras then hovered on the two for the best footage, followed by interviews.
He says what started as a casual chat, between the two ended up as a big media attraction.
Mr Walubita says the international media were attracted by the professional and eloquent manner in which Ms. Namugala elaborated issues on forests and the environment with Finkbeiner.
He says at the close of their chat Ms. Namugala invited Finkbeiner to visit Zambia.
Mr Walubita says the boy had just delivered an expressive speech on behalf of the youths of the world on the future of forests.
“What followed was deafening clapping of hands in the packed General Assembly hall, presided over by the President of its 65th session, His Excellency Mr. Joeph Deiss (Switzerland).” He says.
He says Ms. Namugala had wanted to talk to Finkbeiner and that was where her focus was, despite the flashing of cameras.
Finkbeiner who was interviewed by many media outlets, said he was pleased to meet Ms. Namugala to discuss issues on forests especially planting of trees.
His message to the World leaders was that they needed to STOP TALKING AND START PLANTING.
His message, the young lad indicated that youths or children had a problem in understanding the logic in leaders in the world who never showed seriousness in addressing issues of deforestation.
He said they only looked at the present situation and not the adverse effect climate change would have on the future generation.
In elaborating his presentation, Felix likened it to someone telling a monkey to choose between eating 3 bananas at the moment or eating 9 bananas after a month.
The monkey will choose eating the 3 bananas that very moment he said. “This is the kind of greed and lack of seriousness that we see today because we don’t want to address this issue of climate change now in order to benefit everyone in future but we want to put a blind eye to these matters that affect everyone.”