Mariam Al Jaajaa

The Million Tree Campaign (MTC) is a grassroots movement for food security designed to bolster Palestinian farmers’ ties to their land through large scale tree planting. The campaign is a program of the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN), a non-profit organization established in 2003 to strengthen the capacity of the Arab peoples to sustain the region’s natural resources and to gain sovereignty over them (

The campaign works to replant fruit trees in Palestine as a means of counteracting the damage wrought by the Israeli occupation around the areas where settlements, by-pass roads, and the wall are being built. Since 2001, destructive practices as part of the occupation have resulted in the uprooting of almost 2.5 million trees. These trees were an important source of food and income in Palestine.

The MTC draws together various partners in Palestine, including the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees and the Palestinian Agricultural Farmers Union. Established in 2000, the campaign has resulted in planting the first million trees in April 2008.The second MTC was launched in the same year, and 983,000 trees have been planted so far (as of June 2014).Olive trees have accounted for the largest proportion of planted trees due to their importance to Palestinian food culture and economy. Other planted trees have included citrus, apple, grape vineyards, pomegranate, figs, and various stone fruits including apricots, peaches, plums, and almonds. The campaign has been expanded to re-build and rehabilitate water facilities such as collective wells and irrigation systems.

The MTC has benefited more than17,000 farmers so far, providing food and income to close to 85,000 family members. It has also helped farmers retain their properties since cultivated land is more difficult to confiscate by the Israeli occupation.

To complement its grassroots campaign, APN has also played a key role in shaping global policies affecting the right to food for peoples under occupation, and against environmental violations in times of conflict. The main aim of this effort is to integrate human rights norms in these policies while addressing the causal factors that produce food insecurity.

Mariam Al Jaajaa is General Manager, Arab Group for the Protection of Nature