WED messages



United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Biodiversity, the incredible variety of life on Earth that sustains us, is in peril. Species are becoming extinct at the fastest rate ever recorded. Most of these extinctions are tied to human activities that are polluting and depleting water resources, changing and degrading habitats and altering the global climate. From frogs to gorillas, from huge plants to tiny insects, thousands of species are in jeopardy.

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day, “Many Species. One Planet. One Future”, echoes the call of the International Year of Biodiversity to stop this mass extinction and raise awareness about the vital importance of the millions of species that inhabit our planet’s soils, forests, oceans, coral reefs and mountains. Our health, well-being and sustainable future depend on this intricate, delicate web of ecosystems and life.

The global host of the 2010 WED celebration is Rwanda. This small country in the Great Lakes region of Africa is rapidly earning a reputation as a green pioneer. Home to 52 threatened species, including the rare mountain gorilla, Rwanda is showing how environmental sustainability can be woven into the fabric of a country’s economic growth. Despite its many challenges, including poverty and widespread land degradation, the “land of a thousand hills” is working to reforest, embrace renewable energies, pursue sustainable agriculture and develop a green vision for the future.

This year, Kigali will be the heartbeat of a global, multicultural, intergenerational celebration of our planet, its millions of species and the countless ways in which life on Earth is interconnected. On World Environment Day, I appeal to everyone – from Kigali to Canberra, from Kuala Lumpur to Quito – to help us sound the alarm. Get involved, speak out. Learn and teach others. Show leadership and help clean up. Reconnect with nature, our life force. Together, we can develop a new vision for biodiversity: Many Species. One Planet. One Future.

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President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev

Every year on June 5 the globe marks World Environment Day. This day has been marked around the planet since 1972, although Russia has been taking part only since 2007. But as they say, better late than never, and indeed, it took us a while, but we have, fortunately, finally woken up to the vital importance of protecting nature, to the realisation that economic and environmental development go hand in hand, and to the awareness that without strict compliance with environmental standards we simply will have no future at all.
These seem to be self-evident things, but it took quite a long time for this awareness to reach all quarters of our society, for everyone, ordinary citizens, and – most important – the state authorities, to realise that this is our common task; this is the responsibility of officials at every level and of each and every one of us. Insolent disregard for nature can have large-scale and highly unpredictable consequences, after all.

Read the complete message from President Medvedev

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President of the Republic of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed

The destruction of the natural world costs the global economy some $2 to $5 trillion every year but economists barely notice the loss. This is a fundamental and profound market failure at the heart of our global economic system. Nations must work together to place a value on biodiversity, just as we need to place a global price on carbon emissions. Only when we fully value nature will we properly protect it. We rely on the natural world for our food, for clean water, for protection from floods and storms and to provide us with a habitable climate. If we lose nature, we lose ourselves.”

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United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton

The United States is proud to join with the international community to mark June 5 as World Environment Day, as we have since 1973. And I note with pleasure the selection of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as North American Host City, reaffirming its leadership in regional innovation and in the transformation to a greener economy.

This year's commemoration is more important than ever as we face unprecedented environmental challenges that threaten our planet’s natural resources and biodiversity. Today, the United States is learning firsthand how fragile our ecosystems are and how quickly a treasured landscape can become endangered. As President Obama recently stated, protecting the earth’s biodiversity, be it in the Gulf of Mexico or elsewhere, is a responsibility all of us share. The urgency and scope of our shared responsibility is reflected in this year’s theme, “Many species, one planet, one future.” 

Its is also reflected in the commitment of the United States to building global partnerships to preserve the earth’s rich biodiversity. From protecting the forests in the Congo Basin in central Africa to preserving the coral reefs in Southeast Asia, we are working together to meet our shared challenges. We are strengthening partnerships such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and working to build similar networks in Central America and South Asia. While we have learned a great deal about environmental conservation since the first World Environment Day 38 years ago, there is much more for us to learn and do. Let us individually and collectively redouble our efforts to protect the environment, for the benefit of generations to come.
Source: U.S. Department of State

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UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner

The urgency to better manage the planet’s natural assets is a key theme of World Environment Day 2010, coming as it does half way through the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. Every year, an estimated $2 to $ 5 trillion is lost--almost without notice or comment-- from the global economy as a result of the degradation and destruction of the planet’s nature-based resources.

The near invisibility in national accounts of biological diversity and of the economically-important services of ecosystems such as forests and freshwaters is short changing the planet and its people. 2010 is a year in which this status quo needs to be firmly and decisively challenged in order to halt the loss of species and catalyse a far more intelligent management of the natural world. This is a central thrust of the Green Economy, an initiative of UNEP and a response to the multiple challenges, but also multiple opportunities at hand. It is gaining resonance and traction across the globe among world leaders, businesses, citizens and the UN system.

Rwanda, the main host for global WED celebrations in 2010, is a shining example of how transformational change can be embraced-- not only in developed but also forward-looking developing economies. President Kagame has raised the environmental bar across the Continent and indeed the world by calling for a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy. In doing so he articulated a new direction for action on poverty alleviation by linking the future of Africa’s economy with investing in environmental sustainability.

The public give politicians the license to operate. If the Green Economy is to take root world-wide, the time has come to galvanize governments in part by building community awareness and public action from the grass roots up. WED 2010’s theme is Many Species; One Planet; One Future—it is high time that the one species with the power to make positive change recognized these fundamental facts.

Watch Mr. Steiner's video message for World Environment Day

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Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova

On the occasion of World Environment Day 2010, we celebrate the theme ‘Many
Species, One Planet, One Future’. Today, and through this year – the International
Year of Biodiversity - we celebrate diversity on Earth. In essence, biodiversity is the
diversity of all living forms. Diversity also expresses itself through cultural diversity,
and the two are inextricably linked.

Biodiversity sustains and inspires our cultures and belief systems. We, in turn,
shape biodiversity. For example, through agro-biodiversity, we have obtained the
immense variety of crops and livestock on which people depend. We have had a
central role in shaping another level of biodiversity – landscapes and seascapes –
some of which are nowadays recognized as the common heritage of mankind
because of their unique beauty, native life forms and contribution to both nature and
culture.

Read the complete message from Irina Bokova

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International Labour Organization Director General, Juan Somavia

Human well-being and economic activity are intrinsically linked with the fate of the natural world: many species, one planet, one future. Too often, physical, human and social capital have been short-changed and natural capital neglected, indeed destroyed. It is the manifestation of a world that is out of balance. Abuse of the natural environment for short-term gain impoverishes communities and societies; the impact is eventually global. Natural resources account for as much as half of the “GDP of the poor” even when the recorded average contribution to the national economy may be less than 10 per cent. Preserving natural resources and being attentive to how they are tapped economically is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Biodiversity and natural resources are of immense economic and social significance to economies, enterprises and workers everywhere. They directly underpin over one billion jobs globally in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Today, one out of every three workers earns a living in these sectors. Biodiversity and nature are also the backbone of industries such as tourism, one of the most rapidly growing sources of employment in many countries. Tens of millions of jobs can be created and sustained around the world with sound environmental management – for example by recovering degraded forests, wetlands and river systems which conserve soils and ensure clean water supplies.

Read the complete message from Juan Somavia

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Azerbaijan Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Dr Hussein Bagirov

“Today in Azerbaijan we can witness promising examples of comprehensive actions aimed at environment protection. From now on, we need everyone to be involved into active process of environment protection in all sectors of society: businesses, communities, schools and of course human behavior.

2010 was declared by the President of my country The Year of Environment in Azerbaijan for Green Earth. It is a big responsibility for everyone. During the past few years we had good results in protecting the environment, however much more should be done.

Our planet is facing enormous environmental threats. We – the citizens of the world – should unite our efforts to address the challenges now. We shouldn’t wait until the crisis wakes us to reality. We call for individual and collective action. Perhaps organize a neighborhood clean-up, stop using plastic bags, organize collective tree planting, walk to work … The possibilities are endless.

Join World Environment Day 2010 and speak everywhere for the Planet! We should become its voice and give a hope. We look forward to making this World Environment Day celebration the biggest ever and we count on you to make this happen!”

Azerbaijan is a city hub for WED 2010 in Europe.

Watch Mr. Bagirov's video message for World Environment Day

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Republic of Korea Minister of Environment, Maanee Lee

World Environment Day 2010 is a day to bring our minds together and commit ourselves to making Earth a healthier place to live in. On this meaningful day, I am delighted to deliver my message to Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, and all the distinguished guests from around the world who have devoted their attentions and resources to the protection of our environment.

The current environmental crisis is a clear and present danger requiring our immediate attention. None of us are exempt from this challenge. Especially worrisome is the loss of biodiversity, intensified by habitat damage and climate change as a result of our irresponsible developments, and ignited by our short-sighted selfishness and lack of environmental awareness. The number of endangered species on the Red List has been increasing at an alarming rate, from 15,000 species in 2000 to 44,837 species in 2008. Biodiversity loss is in serious danger, and we have not a minute to lose.

Read the complete message from Mr. Lee

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Statement By The Honourable Minister Of Environment, Nigeria, John Odey

Nigeria is again joining the Global Community to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) on Saturday, 5th June, 2010

Towards the realization of Nigeria’s commitment to sustainable environment management, the Federal Ministry of Environment has adopted participatory and community based approaches involving stakeholders across all sectors in order to:

  • Create awareness and enhance environmental friendly habits and life styles
  • Domesticate environmental issues and empower the people.

Also, the Federal Government is giving due attention to the rehabilitation of eroded sites, controlling the spread of further erosion and ameliorating the effect of flood.

Further to the implementation of the Environmental impact Assessment (EIA) Law, special emphasis is placed on Biodiversity Conservation within the context of attaining Sustainable Development.

Read the complete message from Mr. Odey

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Director of UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group, Veerle Vandeweerd

As this year’s theme of World Environment Day reminds us, the future of the human species is intertwined with that of all life on this planet we share.
Of the world’s six and a half billion people, it is the poorest that are most vulnerable to environmental damage. They are directly dependent on the environments in which they live for food, water, livelihoods and the very roots of their cultural traditions. They are most immediately exposed to the consequences of damage to those environments, and least able to protect themselves from the resulting deprivations and hardships.

It will be difficult to make real and lasting progress in reducing hunger, improving maternal health, reducing child mortality or increasing levels of education in environments that are incapable of providing the basics of life, where agriculture is vulnerable to the whims of climate change, where biodiversity is in decline, where drinkable water is scarce, where there is no access to clean sources of energy, or where harmful chemicals abound. People cannot thrive where life does not flourish.

This is why UNDP is on the ground in 135 countries throughout the developing world, helping them adopt environmentally sustainable paths out of poverty, of which a crucial component is building resilience to climate change.

Against this background, it is particularly appropriate that Rwanda has been chosen as host country for World Environment Day 2010. In addition to being rich in biodiversity, including rare species such as the mountain gorilla, it is pioneering the integration of environmental sustainability into its plans for economic development, founded on its recognition that the well-being of people is directly dependent upon the health of the environments in which they live.

The UNDP-UNEP Poverty and Environment Initiative has played an important role in supporting Rwanda’s efforts to pursue an environmentally sustainable path out of poverty.

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Message of Luc Gnacadja Executive Secretary UN Convention to Combat Desertification

Each generation has a history and legacy. The conservation of biological diversity promises to be one of our legacies, but success depends on our ability to stem the root causes of biodiversity loss. Only then will we truly celebrate “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” We know where the real action is required, given that inappropriate land use practices and management that clear the land of its cover, degrade the soil and fail to nurture its biodiversity are at the core of this challenge.

In marking the World Environment Day this year under the theme, “Many Species. One Planet. One Future,” my call is towards action that pays unprecedented attention to the soil. By improving the condition of the soil, we create the possibility to enhance human, animal and plant life everywhere. One exemplar of this reality is Rwanda, host country to this year’s World Environment Day observance event.

Set in the heart of Africa, on the edge of Africa’s largest tropical Rainforest, Rwanda is a natural home to vast plant and animal species. But this once lush country suffered extensive land degradation over at least five decades, which not only eroded its rich biological diversity but subsequently also threatened the long term well being of the people of Rwanda.

Read the complete message from Luc Gnacadja

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Message of Flavia Pansieri United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Executive Coordinator

The United Nations General Assembly designated 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. As ever, voluntary action will be key to achieving its goals.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for such voluntary action in his own message for World Environment Day, appealing to everyone to help sound the alarm about the impact of human activities upon biodiversity and the world we live in. "Get involved, speak out," he says. "Learn and teach others. Show leadership and help clean up."

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme's 'Volunteering for our Planet' campaign last year united volunteers across the world, illustrating ordinary citizens' commitment to preserving our environment, mitigating climate change and safeguarding biodiversity. Hosted in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, the campaign website invited visitors to voluntarily pledge their time and energy between World Environment Day 2009 on 5 June and International Volunteer Day on 5 December. It recorded pledges totalling 1.5 million hours, adding up to 900 working years voluntarily spent planting trees, reducing carbon emissions and cleaning up pollution.

'Volunteering for our Planet' showed the world that voluntary action counts. Environmental groups have recognized this for a long time, and UNV continues to cooperate with organizations across the world to help integrate volunteerism into their work.

Read the complete message from Flavia Pansieri

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President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Roberto Kobeh González

Tomorrow is World Environment Day, one of the principle activities of the United Nations to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action. The theme of this year’s event is: “Many Species. One Planet. One Future”. It reflects the reality that the well-being of humanity, now and in the years to come, rests on the vitality of delicate, intricate and interconnected sets of ecosystems that sustain life on our planet. While international aviation has made it possible to enjoy and learn from the extraordinary biodiversity that surrounds us, it has also contributed, albeit minimally, to climate change. At the next regular Session of the Assembly in the fall, Member States will have yet another opportunity to initiate bold and decisive measures to protect the environment. And we in this Chamber, through our discussions and decisions, can provide the impetus necessary for moving in this direction. I look forward to your cooperation in this global endeavour to improve life on the planet.

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WED MESSAGES

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon


President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev


President of the Republic of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed


United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton


UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner


Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova


International Labour Organization Director General, Juan Somavia


Azerbaijan Minister for Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Dr Hussein Bagirov


Republic of Korea Minister of Environment, Maanee Lee


Statement By The Honourable Minister Of Environment, Nigeria, John Odey


Director of UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group, Veerle Vandeweerd


Message of Luc Gnacadja Executive Secretary UN Convention to Combat Desertification


Message of Flavia Pansieri United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Executive Coordinator


President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Roberto Kobeh González














UNEP WED Celebrations Worldwide

- Europe

- North America

- Korea