Press Releases September 2007 - Global campaign tackling greatest environmental challenge: climate change - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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Global campaign tackling greatest environmental challenge: climate change

Community-based action on climate change involving an estimated 35 million people across the planet in 2007 will culminate in the Clean Up the World Weekend on 14-16 September.

More than 650 non-government organisations, community groups, local councils and other agencies in 115 countries are currently working on projects in 2007 to improve the health of the environment.

The focus of many community activities around the world has been on limiting the impacts of climate change though activities such as waste reduction and recycling, water and energy conservation, and revegetation.

On Clean Up the World Weekend, organisations will engage volunteers to take part in activities designed to clean up, fix up and conserve their local environment.

The Australian founder and chairman of Clean Up the World, Ian Kiernan AO* said communities in many countries are demonstrating that simple actions can make a real and lasting difference.

"Millions of people simply conserving water, and recycling waste adds up to a huge environmental benefit for the planet.

"Our aim is to encourage individuals to take responsibility for the environment through a range of affordable actions. What is inspiring is the variety of activities that participating organisations have initiated in their countries in response to this challenge."

Among those undertaking activities as part of the weekend, Our Earth Foundation in Poland and the Tonga Solid Waste Management Project in the Pacific are conducting nationwide clean ups and Programa TV Na Praia in Brazil is coordinating a day of activities to launch their anti-litter campaign.

The Clean Up the World campaign is in its 15th year and has the support of the United Nation's Environment Programme (UNEP). The 2007 theme 'Our Climate, Our Actions, Our Future' channels community action towards addressing the causes of climate change.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP praised the efforts of organisations across the world that are involved in Clean Up the World.

"Climate change and other environmental challenges impact every corner and community on the planet. Our generation is witnessing the early stirrings of extreme weather events, melting ice and other climatic manifestations, and it is truly impressive to see so many communities responding to the challenge with grassroots enthusiasm and commitment. In this context, Clean Up the World is playing a leadership role by providing practical action and this is exactly how the world will start making a difference", he said.

Mr. Steiner added: "This week, we are celebrating not only the 15th anniversary of Clean of the World, but we are also celebrating the Montreal Protocol which was ratified 20 years ago with the aim to eliminate the production and consumption of ozone-depleting chemicals. These two environmental endeavours show that the departure point for success must be a joint effort with participation from all realms of society: governments, private sector and civil society."

Details of organisations participating in Clean Up the World in 2007 can be found at

* AO Order of Australia awarded for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large.


Media contact at Clean Up the World: Photographs and detailed information about Clean Up the World activities in your area/country are available on request from Ms Alana Mew, ph: +612 8280 9100 or +614 23 377 567 email:

Media Contact at UNEP: Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: 254 20 7623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, or when travelling 41 79 596 57 37, e-mail:


Clean Up the World is a campaign held in conjunction with our Primary Partner UNEP. Sponsors ? Brambles and Qantas. Global Media Partner ? National Geographic Channels International. Supporters ? The Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Marriott International.

Of the 650 Clean Up the World participating members in 2007, over 190 come from Africa; 180 from Asia Pacific; 90 from Europe; 150 from Latin America and the Caribbean; 25 from North America; and 15 from West Asia.

Of the 115 countries involved in 2007, those with the highest numbers of participating members are Nigeria then Kenya in Africa, India then the Philippines in Asia Pacific, Argentina then Mexico in Latin America, Spain then the United Kingdom in Europe, USA then Canada in North America and United Arab Emirates in West Asia.


The Clean Up campaign started in 1989 when an Australian solo-yachtsman and builder Ian Kiernan, appalled by the amount of rubbish he came across while sailing, organized a clean up of the Sydney Harbour, during which some 40,000 volunteers removed rusted car bodies, plastics, glass bottles and cigarette butts from the water.

The campaign went global in 1993, with Sydney becoming Clean Up the World's headquarters. Today it brings together hundreds of members from around the world ranging from local community groups to national campaigns that carry out environmental projects throughout the year.

In 2007, Clean Up the World is celebrating 15 years of environmental action and achievement.

For more information, visit


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the "Voice of the Environment" in the United Nations system. It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and is represented across the globe by regional and liaison offices. UNEP's mission is to provide leadership und encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP, established in 1972, has been headed by Achim Steiner since 2006.

In encouraging people to care for the environment and advocating sustainable development, UNEP cooperates with a variety of partners, including other UN institutions, international organizations, governments, the private sector and civil society.

For more information, visit




Further Resources

Clean Up the World
Official web site

Clean Up the World Weekend, 14-16 September 2007

2007 Clean Up the World PSA (30 sec)

UN Environment Programme and Clean Up the World

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, Podcast on Clean Up the World


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