Dear Big Cleanup coordinators from all over Latvia!
Vita Jaunzeme and the organizing team!
Representatives of the diplomatic corps!
Ladies and gentlemen!
These days we are entering the astronomical spring, and for us in Latvia this means not only that the days are getting brighter and warmer, but also that the annual Big Cleanup is approaching. And we are all looking for ways to do our bit to make Latvia cleaner, more beautiful and greener.
The Big Cleanup has firmly entered our everyday life as an annual spring event. We clean up our land, and in doing so we also clean up ourselves, prepare the soil and inspire ourselves to do more throughout the year. With the motto "Green Latvia = Green World", the Big Cleanup will take place for the 16th year in a row. This year on 22 April.
We may each have our own opinions on some issues in this world, but it is nature that unites us all, regardless of our country or group. Water connects the world, air currents move from one side of the sky to the other, regardless of national borders.
This means that a green Latvia can influence a greener world, and the efforts of people in other countries to clean up their land, or not to do so, can influence the future of Latvia. But of course, what Latvia does also affects other countries.
We in Latvia choose to be an active part of the world, people of action who are prepared to fight the effects of pollution and change our habits to make Latvia free of dirt and with a healthy, beautiful environment for its citizens.
Latvia, as a member of the European Union, is also actively involved in the common efforts of member states to achieve climate neutrality. It is not a whim, but a necessity of action that we owe to nature. All our everyday life and economic activity must also be increasingly based on new thinking, renewable resources, and a smart circular economy.
Therefore, I appreciate that the Big Cleanup not only encourages collective action, but also encourages thinking and searching for answers to the big questions of a greener future. In particular, it encourages young people to get involved in promoting and living a greener life.
I am grateful to every municipal coordinator for the hours of work you put in to help people in so many places in Latvia - and there are more than 1 000 - to take part in cleanups, to organise waste removal and to do all the little and big things that we don't notice on a daily basis.
Your example and the example of every cleanup participant inspires Latvia and beyond. As we can see from the facts, the Big Cleanup has received the third World Cleanup Movement award for the highest participation rate in terms of the country's population. It has truly become our national tradition. Cleanup volunteers from different continents have learned from Latvia, and the Big Cleanup has provided its knowledge and experience on organisational and substantive issues to all those who participate in these cleanups and who have wished to do so.
It should be noted that in 2015, when the World Cleanup Congress was held in Latvia, before the adoption of political documents at the global and European Union level, a non-governmental commitment was made - not only for a clean but also for a greener world, for moving towards climate neutrality.
That is why the motto of this year's Big Cleanup seems to us self-evident and sets new tasks. Green Latvia is at the same time part of a green world. And a green world is part of a green Latvia.
I am very pleased that the diplomats working here in Latvia are also enthusiastically taking part in the work of the Big Cleanup, thus underlining the idea that this is a task for all of us, for the whole world, which we are doing here locally in Latvia.
I must say that Russia's constant attacks on Ukraine have created a broad international movement in support of Ukraine, including a strong response from the European Union. However, after this war, Ukraine will need to be rebuilt, including the elimination of the pollution caused by this war.
I have already expressed my gratitude to the people of Latvia many times for their selfless support to Ukraine. I think that when this war is over and it is necessary to help clean up the pollution on Ukrainian land, we will be there at the front line.
You are not only doing the work of “greening” Latvia, but you are also an important non-governmental, social movement. Because it is extremely important that there are opportunities for everyone - regardless of what they do in their daily lives - to take part in common tasks. And this is a unique opportunity that we can all do, and that a very large part of our society will take advantage of.
See you at the Big Cleanup on 22 April!