Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 12, 2011

I am delighted to send greetings and thank each of you for your hard work protecting forests around the world.

I also want to thank Avoided Deforestation Partners for hosting this event to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Wangari Maathai, a true visionary.

We all know that in order to build low-carbon economies of the future, we need sustainable forests. Wangari knew better than anyone that the key to this future is to empower women. So she pioneered the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots effort led by women from around the world. Because of her work, millions of women are making decisions about the environment they live in, which is benefiting whole communities and countries.

The Obama Administration is committed – as all of you are – to protecting and restoring forests. And we see women as key partners in this effort, which is why we support the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership that promotes the use of clean cooking solutions, helping to reduce the pressure on local natural resources. Through programs like this one, more forests and ecosystems are healthier and more stable.

We may have lost Wangari, but we can honor her legacy by working to make her vision a reality. Governments, communities, civil society, and the private sector need to keep creating new partnerships and finding new solutions that will save our forests and our environment. Our future depends on it. So I can’t wait hear about the ideas you all generate.

Thank you.