World Environment Day (WED) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. WED is hosted every year by a different city and commemorated with an international exposition through the week of June 5. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), also created in 1972, uses WED to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action.
The topic for World Environment Day for 2007 is "Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?" During International Polar Year, WED 2007 focuses on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, on other ice- and snow-covered areas of the world, and the resulting global impacts.
The main international celebrations of the WED 2007 will be held in the City of Tromsø, Norway, a city north of the Arctic Circle self-styled as "The Gateway to the Arctic".
World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.The World Environment Day slogan selected for 2007 is Melting Ice – a Hot Topic? In support of International Polar Year, the WED theme selected for 2007 focuses on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, and the ensuing consequences around the world.
The main international celebrations of the World Environment Day 2007 will be held in Norway. UNEP is honoured that the City of Tromsø will be hosting this United Nations day (read the press release). Please visit the Norwegian Polar Institute WED website for more information on the celebrations in Norway [English] - [Norsk].
The day's agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is a people's event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and clean-up campaigns.
When did it all begin?
World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP.
How can you celebrate World Environment Day?
World Environment Day can be celebrated in many ways, including street rallies, bicycles parades, green concerts, essay and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, recycling efforts, clean-up campaigns and much more. In many countries, this annual event is used to enhance political attention and action.
Heads of State, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Environment deliver statements and commit themselves to care for the Earth. More serious pledges are made which lead to the establishment of permanent governmental structures dealing with environmental management and economic planning. This observance also provides an opportunity to sign or ratify international environmental conventions.
On this World Environment Day, let us examine the state of our environment. Let us consider carefully the actions which each of us must take, and then address ourselves to our common task of preserving all life on earth in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence.
For ideas on how the day can be commemorated, please visit The World Environment Day Alphabet - 77 Ways to Celebrate
Norway to Host World Environment Day 2007
A range of events, reflecting the threats from global warming to the people and wildlife across the world, are to be staged in Norway's most northerly city Tromsø as well as the capital Oslo and other Norwegian cities. 2007 also marks the start of International Polar Year.
Tromsø, with its strong cultural, historical and scientific links to both the Arctic and Antarctic, is in many ways an ideal location. The city boasts the planet's most northerly university, is linked with such fabled explorers as Amundsen and Nansen and holds the key centre of the internationally recognized Norwegian Polar Institute.
Tromsø is a key centre for the development of nature-based tourism underlying the important economic value of healthy and pristine environments, not to mention the midnight sun in summer time. The city is situated in the heartlands of the indigenous Sami culture, and has a history inextricably linked with the marine resources of the frozen North.
Shafqat Kakakhel, Deputy Executive Director and Officer in Charge of UNEP, said: "The Polar Regions are some of the most hauntingly beautiful places on Earth. They are also nature's early warning systems where human-induced climate change, the thinning of the ozone layer up to the impacts of persistent chemical pollution continue to be registered first".
"The Arctic is also increasingly becoming a new economic powerhouse for minerals, oil and gas extraction and shipping—partly as a result of the receeding ice due to climate change. Both polar regions are also seeing increased interest from tourism and the fisheries industry keen to exploit their vast and abundant fish stocks. These all present opportunities and threats to indigenous peoples living there and for the world as a whole which will be reflected in the WED themes next year," he added.
Norway's Minister of Environment Helen Bjørnøy expressed her delight: "I am very glad that the UN Environment Programme has presented us with this great opportunity to profile the many serious threats to the polar environment. This includes not least climate change in the Arctic, which affects the global climate. We have chosen the polar city of Tromsø as our main venue, to create the right type of setting for the celebrations."
She added that the government, in partnership with UNEP, will be developing an exciting, thought-provoking and dynamic programme for Tromsø and other Norwegian cities including the capital Oslo on and around 5 June.
World Environment Day has been celebrated annually since 1972. Over the years, the day has focused on such issues as acid rain, oceans, water, and green cities.
This year, the main WED celebrations are centred on the Algerian city of Algiers with the theme "Don't Desert Drylands". It reflects 2006 being the International Year for Deserts and Desertification.
UNEP will be launching its ground breaking Global Deserts Outlook which chronicles the state of the environment of the world's desert regions and predicts possible futures for the globe's most arid environments.
Notes to Editors
World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
The day's agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is also a people's event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and clean-up campaigns.
For more information, please see the website http://www.unep.org/wed or contact:-
- Eric Falt, Director, UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: +254 20 762 3292; Mobile: +254 733 682 656, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 762 3084; Mobile: +254 733 632 755, E-mail: email@example.com
- If there is no prompt response, please contact Elisabeth Waechter, UNEP Associate Media Officer, on Tel: 254 20 762 3088, Mobile: 254 720 173968, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In Norway, please contact Karin Westrheim, Senior press officer, Ministry of the Environment of Norway, P.O.Box 8013 Dep, N-0030 Oslo, Norway; Tel: +47 22 24 57 09; Fax: +47 22 24 27 72; E-mail: email@example.com
UNEP News Release 2006/27
CELEBRATIONS IN MALAYSIA:
To commemorate World Environment Day 2007, the Rainforest Discovery Centre of Sabah Forestry Department will organize a four - day student camp from the 2 - 5 June. There will be 36 students aged 16 - 18 and 6 teachers participating in the camp. The theme of the camp is World Environment Day Student Camp on Climate Change. The locations will be at a rain forest, mangrove forest and The Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok. The main focus of the camp will be on ways in which human beings contribute towards climate change and what can be done to reduce this environmental crisis.
For more information, please contact:
Rainforest Discovery Centre
Sabah Forestry Department
P.O. Box 1407
Tel: 60 089 533780/1
Fax: 60 089 535201
The Kinabatangan floodplain in northern Borneo harbours a rich natural heritage including one of the largest orang-utan populations in Sabah. Over the past decades however, habitat degradation and escalating human-wildlife conflicts have increasingly threatened many rare species and is now also affecting the traditional way of life of the local community.
The Kinabatagan Orang-Utan Conservation Project (KOCP) is an initiative by the Kinabatangan community, the French NGO Hutan and the Sabah Wildlife Department. Over the past ten years, we have been working to involve the local people in the conservation-oriented management of the Kinabatangan wetlands.
For the first time, the KOCP will celebrate World Environment Day on 5 and 6 June with all the villages of the region. Villagers will visit exhibitions on the local natural heritage, its current conservation status and threats. Children will participate in games and competitions and see puppet shows and films. Visitors will be taken along educational jungles trails and will participate in the forest restoration effort by planting of native tree seedlings in degraded forest areas. The “Fishermen for Conservation” programme and community-based ecotourism initiatives will also be presented. The celebrations will be concluded by a competition of decorated river boats on the theme of “Kinabatangan wildlife and forest”.
For more information, please contact:
Kinabatangan Orang-Utan Conservation Project - Hutan
P.O. Box 3109, 90734 Sandakan Sabah Malaysia
Village of Sukau
Tel: (60)88 250 540
Fax: (60)88 250 540