Nairobi, 24 February 2005 - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to host the next Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Council, it was announced today.
It is the first time that the event has been held in the Arab world.
The announcement was made at the 23rd Governing Council of UNEP being held at its headquarters in Kenya by His Excellency Mr Mohamed Al-Madfaa, the UAE health minister.
He delivered his message on behalf of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence.
Dr Mohamed Ahmed Bin Fahad, who is chairman of the organizing committee, said:” We are excited about hosting the 9th Special Session of this Governing Council in our country and hope it will be a unique session in both deliberations and achievements”.
The special session, which will take place in Dubai, will coincide with the awards ceremony for the Zayed International Prize for the Environment. It is named after the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE and a world-renowned environmentalist.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director who is also chair of the Zayed Prize judges, said today:” I must wholeheartedly thank the UAE for its kind offer to host our next special session”.
“Through the vision and commitment of the late Sheikh Zayed and the enthusiasm and support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the founder of the Zayed prize for the Environment, the UAE has pioneered many environmentally important initiatives. These range from the greening of the deserts and the breeding of rare and endangered animals, to pushing forward the efficiency of drinking water desalination plants,” he said.
“It is fitting that a country from the Arab world is hosting this event in 2006 given that next year is the International Year of Deserts and Desertification,” added Mr Toepfer.
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