Press Releases

    UNIS/INF/15
    3 June 2004

    Enjoying Advantages of Sustainable Living

    United Nations Commemorates World Environment Day, 5 June

    VIENNA, 3 June (UN Information Service) -- This year, the global theme for World Environment Day, which is observed on 5 June every year, is “Wanted! Seas and Oceans Dead or Alive?” an invocation designed to increase awareness of the fact that the water bodies of the world are threatened by pollution, over-fishing and unsustainable methods of fishing in general. Though the Stockholm Treaty which came into force last month has made some progress by banning the world's most dangerous pesticides, industrial chemicals and hazardous by-products of combustion, a lot remains to be done.

    Every year’s theme is changed or modified by a country according to its priorities, and therefore, World Environment Day is celebrated in various ways worldwide. “Sustainable living -- enjoy the advantages” is the Austrian theme for the World Environment Day. Austria has chosen to focus on one of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations: environmental sustainability. In a joint effort of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the agency “Umweltberatung”, several non-governmental organizations and individuals inform people of the importance of sustainability and the careful use of scarce natural resources. In neighbouring Slovenia the Tourist Association is organizing a debate on eco-tourism, which will review the current situation in the country, its problems and future plans. A side event will bring together managers of Slovene lakes who will discuss water issues at an expert meeting. 

    This year’s host city for the central Environment Day celebration is Barcelona in Spain, which is observing the event during the Universal Forum of Cultures. As part of the forum, innovative environmental technologies and developments are on display, including a huge solar power plant generating 1.3 Mega Watt of “green” electricity on 10,500 square-metres -- enough to serve a small town of 1,000 inhabitants.

    The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will also launch a new International Photographic Competition with the themes “Focus on Your world” and “Celebrating Diversity” aimed at increasing awareness of environment and sustainable development issues. The award ceremony and winners’ exhibition will be held at EXPO 2005 in Nagoya, Japan.

    The World Environment Day was introduced on the occasion of the opening of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment on 5 June, 1972. The United Nations Environment Programme, which co-ordinates worldwide environmental activities was also established on that date.

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