"Russian Regional Environmental Centre can play an important role in raising attention towards environmental issues and strengthening environmental civil society"

Margot Wallstrцm, EU Commissioner on environment in 1999-2004

5 June - World Environment Day

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 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.

Through WED, the UN Environment Programme is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.

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.

In a message marking World Environment Day, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon noted that humankind would not be able to build a just and equitable world unless we gave equal weight to all three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental.

In a separate message, noting that the theme of this year’s environment day is “Forests: Nature at Your Service,” and that 2011 is the International Year of Forests, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon told a forestry conservation meeting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo: “From access to clean water to agricultural productivity, from soil conservation to flood control, forests are central to economic development, poverty reduction and food and nutrition security.

“By reducing deforestation and forest degradation we can make significant progress in addressing the combined threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.”

Also in celebration of World Environment day, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launches its Forests in a Green Economy report in Nairobi and Delhi on Sunday, 5 June. The report “details the economic, environmental, health and social benefits of investing in forests and how better management of the ‘lungs of the Earth’ can help achieve sustainability for communities across the world,” according to UNEP.

More than 1.6 billion people are dependent on forests for their livelihoods. Rich in biodiversity, forests are also essential in supplying water to nearly half of the world's largest cities. Yet despite such vital services, the world is losing its forests at an alarming rate, with some 5.2 million hectares being cut down each year.


More information could be found at http://www.unep.org/wed/2010/english/flash_2010/intro.