Wednesday, 15 July 2009 09:40

World Environment day 2009

World Environment day, which is held annually on the 5th of June, is one of the principal ways in which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

 WED was established by the UN general assembly in 1972. The day gives everyone, young and old, an opportunity to show that they care for the planet. The main aims of these days are to:

• Give a human face to environmental issues;
• Empower people to become active agents of sustainable development;
• Promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues;
• Advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and people enjoy safer and more prosperous future.

The theme for WED 2009, which was hosted in Mexico was, “Your planet needs you- UNite to combat climate change”. The South African Minister of Water and Environmental affairs, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, related her message to the theme and emphasised the important role that all South Africans have in addressing climate change, adding that communities play a pivotal role in changing attitudes towards the environment. She said that: “we need to raise and enhance awareness around climate change so that the climate change message can become accessible to all citizens, especially the poor who are also the most vulnerable to this phenomenon. They are the ones at the coalface and are at the receiving end thereof. We need to demystify the concept to the point where those in our community living in the rural and depressed areas of our country understand and embrace the message that we communicate.”

The day was hailed as a runaway success with more than 100 countries participating and general feelings that the day was fun, well organised and very successful in creating awareness around environmental issues. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded, “On this World Environment day, I encourage all people to take concrete steps toward making the planet greener and cleaner. Switch off lights. Take public transport. Recycle. Plant a tree. Clean up your local park. Hold corporations responsible for their environmental practices.

Sources:  www.unep.org


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