WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, June 5:
This year’s theme – ‘Forests: Nature at Your Service’
World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. WED activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.
WED celebration began in 1972 A/RES/2994 (XXVII) and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
WED is also a day for people from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations.
Theme for this year is ‘Forests: Nature at Your Service.’ The UN Secretary-General’s special message on this day states “Nearly 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit, the world is once again on the road to Rio – the site of the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Much has changed in the past two decades, geopolitically and environmentally. Hundreds of millions of people in Asia, Latin America – and, increasingly, in Africa – have risen from poverty. Yet, evidence is also accumulating of profound and potentially irreversible changes in the ability of the planet to sustain our progress.
Rapid economic growth has come with costs that traditionally rarely feature in national accounting. These range from atmospheric and water pollution to degraded fisheries and forests, all of which impact prosperity and human well-being. The theme emphasizes the multi-trillion dollar value of these and other ecosystems to society – especially the poor.
Despite growing global awareness of the dangers of environmental decline – including climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification – progress since the Earth Summit has been too slow. We will not build a just and equitable world unless we give equal weight to all three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental. To reduce poverty, guarantee food and nutrition security and provide decent employment for growing populations, we must make the most intelligent use of our natural capital.
India, the global host of World Environment Day in 2011, is among a growing number of countries working to address the pressures of ecological change. It is also helping to pioneer a better assessment of the economic value of nature-based services, with the assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank. India’s Rural Employment Act and the country’s encouragement of renewable energy are significant examples of how to scale up green growth and accelerate the transition to a green economy.
No single day can transform development onto a sustainable path. But on the road to Rio +20, this year’s World Environment Day can send a message that those with influence in government and the private sector can – and must – take the necessary steps that will fulfil the promise of the Earth Summit. The global public is watching, and expects nothing less.”