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World Environment Day Celebrations Focus on Green Economy

5 June 2012: Millions of people celebrated World Environment Day (WED) around the theme, “Green Economy: Does it Include You?” highlighting the central role of communities in the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive green economy. The estimated 9,000 WED activities held worldwide included tree planting and the official launch of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) in Brazil.

Commemorated annually on 5 June since 1972, WED is one of the main tools through which the UN stimulates awareness of the environment and promotes political attention and action.

In a message to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said WED's theme underscored the need for everyone to contribute to “keeping humankind's ecological footprint within planetary boundaries.” He stated that Rio+20 would provide an opportunity to deepen commitment to sustainable development, and to agree that “measuring growth and wealth by Gross Domestic Product alone is inadequate,” noting the Conference should agree that the world needs sustainable development goals (SDGs), building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He drew attention to the UN's efforts towards climate neutrality and sustainable management of its offices and activities.

Also to celebrate the Day, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) launched a biodiversity project in Georgia, aimed at protecting mountain and freshwater ecosystems through tourism. The project will involve the development of tourism products in mountain and freshwater ecosystems in four protected areas in Georgia, to raise awareness of these areas, as well as generate income for their conservation. [UNEP Press Release] [IUCN Press Release] [CMS Press release] [CITES Press Release] [UNWTO Press Release] [WWF Press Release] [UN Secretary-General Statement] [World Bank Press Release] [IOM Press Release]  [UN Press Release]