International Mother Earth Day Adopted at the United Nations

Celebrating the adoption of International Mother Earth Day at United Nations Headquarters, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, Josephine Tarrant, Muriel Borst, and Roberto Borrero. (Photo: Miguel Ibanez, Habitat Pro)

In a resolution adopted Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. The assembly recognized that “Mother Earth” is a common expression for the planet earth in a number of countries and regions, and invited all member states, international and regional organizations and civil society to observe the day annually.

Acting in consensus, the assembly proclaimed that the “Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and stressed that in order to achieve a just balance economically, socially, and environmentally it is necessary to promote “harmony with nature and Earth.”

In a special event celebrating the adoption of International Mother Earth Day, the gathering was called to order with the sounding of the Guamo (conch shell) by Roberto Borrero, a Boriken Taino representing the United Confederation of Taino People. The call to order was followed by a welcome address on behalf of the Onondaga Nation presented by Tonya Gonnella Frichner, the North American Regional Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In his presentation at the event, United Nations General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann thanked President Evo Morales Ayma of the Plurinational State of Bolivia for initiating International Mother Earth Day and for attending the meeting. He noted that President Morales has “proven himself to be fully committed to the transmission of the great spiritual and moral values of our South and Central American and Caribbean ancestors.”

The 63rd GA president further noted that these “values are greatly need to help our world out of the neo-liberal quagmire of greed and social irresponsibility in which we find ourselves.”

Addressing the gathering, President Evo Morales Ayma who is of indigenous Aymara origin thanked all those who supported the Declaration and noted that western thought has long viewed the Earth as a commodity and not as a “living being that has rights”. President Morales also took the opportunity to request that those gathered support a call for the development of an additional declaration on the “Rights of Mother Earth.”

The event continued with a special performance by the Silver Cloud Singers, an intertribal Native American singing and dancing troupe and an expert panel including Leonardo Boff (Brazil), Tariq Banuri (UNDSA), Juanita Castano (UNEP), Thanh Xuan Nguyen (WEDO), Jan McAlpine (UNFFS), and Maude Barlow (Canada).

The International Mother Earth Day resolution was co-sponsored by 50 states, including several Caribbean countries - Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Saint Lucia.

UCTPTN 04.22.2009

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