News

Brazil Named Global Host of World Environment Day 2012

February 22, 2012
United Nations Environment Programme

Nairobi (Kenya) - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that Brazil, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, will host World Environment Day 2012 (WED) on 5 June.

This year's theme 'Green Economy: Does it include you? invites everyone to both assess where the Green Economy fits in their daily lives and evaluate whether development through these pathways towards a Green Economy can deliver the kinds of social, economic and environmental outcomes needed in a world of seven billion people, climbing to over nine billion in 2050.

Brazil had previously hosted WED in 1992, on the eve of the first Earth Summit, when world leaders, government officials and international organizations met to refocus, recalibrate and deliver a route map towards sustainable development.

"In celebrating WED in Brazil in 2012, we are returning to the roots of contemporary sustainable development in order to forge a new path that reflects the realities but also the opportunities of a new century," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.

"Three weeks after WED, Brazil will host Rio+20 where world leaders and nations will gather in order to design a future that takes sustainable development from theory and patchy success to the locomotive of transformational change-a pathway that can grow economies and generate decent jobs without pushing the globe past planetary boundaries," he added.

With a country of 200 million people, Brazil is the fifth most populous nation in the world and has the fifth largest land mass on the planet with 8.5 million square kilometers

In recent years Brazil has taken enormous steps to tackle issues such as deforestation in the Amazon through enforcement efforts and monitoring initiatives by the Brazilian government.

Indeed by some estimates, Brazil recently realized one of the biggest greenhouse gas emission reductions in the world as a result of its achievements in reducing deforestation rates.

According to UNEP's Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, the country is also at the forefront of building an economy that includes recycling and renewable energy and the generation of green jobs.

  • Brazil's recycling industry generates returns of US$2 billion a year while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes.

Recycling in all its forms already employs 12 million people in three countries alone: Brazil, China and the United States.

Brazil is also the world leader in sustainable ethanol production for fueling vehicles and is expanding into other renewable areas such as wind power and solar heating systems.

  • The recent construction of 500,000 new homes in Brazil with solar heating systems generated 30,000 new jobs.

"We are very pleased to host this global celebration for the environment. The World Environment Day will be a great opportunity in Brazil to showcase the environmental aspects of sustainable development in the warmup to the Rio+20 conference," said Brazil's Minister of Environment, Izabella Teixeira, who this week is attending UNEP's Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

"The history of Brazil, the complexion of its diverse and dynamic economy with its natural and nature-based resources allied to its industries and its current and future role in international relations, offer a lens and a unique perspective through which a broad-based, transformational outcome is possible at Rio+20," said Mr Steiner.

"Brazil's b commitment to social and equity issues nationally and regionally and its responsibilities towards developing and least developed economies can also guide and shape the debates," he added.

"The contemporary direction of sustainable development was born in Brazil - in many ways its future health, maturity and ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a markedly different world will be forged in Brazil in four months' time," said Mr Steiner.

The WED celebrations in Brazil on 5 June are part of thousands of events taking place around the globe. WED 2012 will emphasize how individual actions can have an exponential impact, with a variety of activities ranging from a marathon, to community clean-ups, car-free days, green blogging competitions, exhibits, green petitions, nationwide green campaigns and much more.

Kia Motors Corporation, the oldest and second largest automobile manufacturer in the Republic of Korea, today also donated five vehicles to UNEP as part of its response to the 2012's WED theme 'Green Economy: Does it include you?'

The cars include Kia Rios and one 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid which were chosen for their fuel efficiency.

The official signing ceremony took place at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and marked Kia's continued commitment to environmental sustainability.

"Through participation in environmental partnerships such as with UNEP we aim to support steadfast efforts to solve global environmental challenges," said Soon-Nam Lee, Director of Overseas Marketing, Kia Motors Corporation. "This year's 'Green Economy' theme bly resonates with our core environmental management objectives of achieving low carbon emissions, resource efficiency and placing the environment at the forefront of all our business activities."

Mr. Steiner said: "I would like to thank KIA for their support-together we will shortly be launching a competition where organizations and groups working at the grassroots of the Green Economy in all the regions of the world can stand to win one of the vehicles in order to further their important work."

UNEP plans to announce details of the competition, which celebrates WED and UNEP's 40th Anniversary, next month with full details published on www.unep.org/wed

Notes to Editors

This year UNEP plans to make WED 2012 into a bigger celebration than ever before, building on the unprecedented success of WED 2011 in India - when people in more than 112 countries registered over 4,000 activities on the WED website.

The WED 2011 website will inspire, inform and involve people through unprecedented interactivity, offering daily tips, information and statistics on the Green Economy, a platform where people around the world can register their activities, social networking campaigns and competitions to get people on every continent involved. See: www.unep.org\WED.

The Republic of India hosted World Environment Day last year for the first time since the celebrations began in 1972. The year's commemorations were the largest and most widely celebrated globally around the theme Forests: Nature at Your Service. Thousands of activities were organized worldwide from Hong Kong to Abidjan, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more.

Rio Earth Summit: In 1992 the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as the Rio Earth Summit, was convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to address the state of the environment and sustainable development. In June 2012, there will be the follow up meeting, or Rio+20, in Brazil in June, where one of the main themes governments are expected to address is Green Economy "in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication".

 

For more information visit:

Details about WED campaigns and special initiatives will be announced at http://www.unep.org/WED in the run-up to 5 June.

Details on UNEP's 12th Special Session Governing Council can be found at: www.unep.org/GC

Details on UNEP's 40 Anniversary can be found at: http://www.unep.org/40thAnniversary

Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication can be found on the UNEP website: www.unep.org/greeneconomy

For more information please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/ Head of Media, on Tel: +254 7623084 /Mobile +254 (0)733632755, E-mail: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=2667&ArticleID=9047&l=en