World Environment Day •
World Environment Day is the United Nations agship environmentalevent, celebrated every year on 5 June in more than 100 countries aroundthe world. It was established in 1972 by the United Nations GeneralAssembly and its commemoration is entrusted to the United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP), whose international headquarters arelocated in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose o World Environment Day is to ocus worldwide attentionon the importance o the environment and stimulate political attentionand action. The event seeks to give a human ace to environmental issues;empower people to become active agents o sustainable and equitabledevelopment; promote an understanding that communities are pivotalto changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocatepartnership, which will ensure that all nations and peoples enjoy a saerand more prosperous uture.Each year, a dierent city is chosen as the principal venue or the globalcelebration o World Environment Day. The host government and/or city,in cooperation with UNEP, set the tone or the event. A theme, sloganand logo are selected to be the ocus or all World Environment Dayinormation materials and promotional activities worldwide.Interest in World Environment Day is growing each year, as evidencedby the number o countries which lend their support to this importantUnited Nations Day, by the expanding list o municipalities, businessesand communities that participate, and by the hundreds o thousands o individuals who visit UNEP’s World Environment Day web site.Activities planned beore and during World Environment Day are wideranging. Essentially, it is a “people’s event”, with colourul activities suchas street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essay competitions inschools, tree planting, recycling and clean up campaigns.World Environment Day is also meant to be an “intellectual” event,providing opportunities or seminars, workshops and symposiums onpreserving the environmental health o our planet or the benet o generations to come. The media play a critical role, and the event inspiresthousands o journalists around the world to report on the environment. The Day enhances political attention and action. Local and regionalofcials, Heads o State and Government and, o course, Ministers o the Environment deliver statements and commit themselves to careor the Earth. For example, in 1994, President Fidal Ramos called uponFilipinos to pause exactly at noon on 5 June and simultaneously “think clean, think green and with positive and joy-lled energy restore tonature the energy borrowed rom it.” More solemn pledges are madewhich lead to the establishment o permanent governmental structuresdealing with environmental management and economic planning.World Environment Day also provides an opportunity to sign or ratiyinternational conventions.
YEAR HOST CITY COUNTRY
2008 Wellington New Zealand2007 Tromsø Norway2006 Algiers Algeria2005 San Francisco USA2004 Barcelona Spain2003 Beirut Lebanon2002 Shenzhen China2001 Torino/Havana Italy/Cuba2000 Adelaide Australia1999 Tokyo Japan1998 Moscow Russian Federation1997 Seoul Republic o Korea1996 Istanbul Turkey1995 Pretoria South Arica1994 London United Kingdom1993 Beijing China1992 Rio de Janeiro Brazil1991 Stockholm Sweden1990 Mexico City Mexico1989 Brussels Belgium1988 Bangkok Thailand1987 Nairobi Kenya
Cover photo: © Gallo Images/ AFP