Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered an address on Monday at the 10th session of the United Nations Forest Forum held in Istanbul.
"We are living in an era when the need for a global conscience is direst. We are having a test where we need to question what we possess, remember and feel empathy for the poor. Today's economic development strategy is built on the welfare of a country or a region at the expense of others' misery," Erdogan told the UN Forum on Forests.
Erdogan warned against global population growth and the deterioration in the global ecology, which he said created new economic and social gaps and widened already existing ones between regions, countries, peoples and individuals.
"It is time for us to begin thinking about tragedies that a piece of diamond, a gram of gold, a litre of oil, a cubic-meter of natural gas and a sack of coal might have witnessed before they arrived our homes. If we insist on this relentless competition, ambition and greed, there will be no world for our children to inherit," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said the past decade had seen world's forests shrank by 5.2 hectares annually, adding that Turkey had been one of the top countries to increase forest cover through afforestation and reforestation.
He said Turkey's forest cover had increased to 22 million hectares and that the country aimed to raise the total forested area to 30 percent of all its land.
"When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money," Erdogan said quoting a native American proverb.
Erdogan says Istanbul has a lot to contribute to global peace and stability
Erdogan has said Istanbul should be one of the global capital cities of the United Nations.
"I believe that Istanbul as a United Nations capital will be to the purpose for world peace, alliance of civilizations, tolerance and for a fair global economic development," Erdogan told Monday the 10th session of the United Nations Forest Forum in Istanbul.
Erdogan said all nine previous sessions of the UN forest forum was held in New York, adding that Istanbul was the first venue to host the event outside the UN headquarters in New York.
"Istanbul is a well-known city is Asia and Africa, and it is touched by almost all cultures and peoples of the world," Erdogan said.