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Achim Steiner on Brazil and the Green Economy

Brasilia, 26 April 2011 - Senador Rodrigo Rollemberg, chair of the Environmental Commission of the Senate

Deputado Giovani Cherini, chair of the Environmental Commission of the Congress,

Members of the Senate and the Congress,

Izabella Teixeira, Environment Minister; Herman Benjamin, Minister of the Superior Court of Justice; Colleagues; Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to have been afforded the privilege and the opportunity to address this extraordinary session of your two environmental commissions.

Three issues on our agenda-the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 or Rio+20; the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Summer Olympics of 2016.

Three world class events, three extraordinary moments in the affairs of Brazil and countries across the globe.

In respect to the FIFA World Cup, I am perhaps fortunate: Being born in Brazil of German parents, I am sure that I will see both my teams in the final!

UNEP has worked with both Germany and South Africa in assisting to ensure that their hosting of the FIFA World Cup was not only a footballing spectacle but an environmentally-friendly one under the theme of the Green Goal.

I have been delighted to learn of the extraordinary progress already made through the 'Sustainability Chamber' in respect to provisions of, for example, solar power in Brazilian stadia and organic agriculture.

UNEP is delighted to have been invited to be involved in the Chamber's work and strategizing and I look forward to answering any questions you have on our activities in the field of football during our interactive sessions at the end of my talk.

Equally UNEP has, for several years now, supported the International Olympic Committee and host countries on the environmental pillar of both the winter and summer Games.

Currently we are assisting the Russian Federation on the greening of the Sochi winter Olympics and we have been active partners with, for example, Beijing and Torino in recent years.

Mass spectator events like these can be real show cases for innovation and for testing sustainable development in ways that can leave a lasting legacy.

Not only in the host cities and host nation but among the companies involved in providing goods and services as well as among a global public attending stadia, or watching their heroes via TV, or listening on the radio.

UNEP stands ready to assist Brazil and the relevant authorities in providing our experience, expertise and knowledge if that is your wish.

However, perhaps the best way of ensuring everyone is on the winning side over the long haul comes even sooner.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012

Nearly 20 years after the Earth Summit of 1992, the world is traveling along the Road to Rio, but on a planet markedly changed from that of the late 20th century.

Brazil is a country and economy that is a microcosm of many of those changes, a great deal of which have been for the good.

Brazil's economy in the early 1990s was one of overall GDP decline and double digit inflation.

Full Release

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director UN Environment Programme



Further Resources

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative


Editorial by Achim Steiner in Portuguese

Video message from UNEP Executive Director (English)

Video message from UNEP Executive Director (Portuguese)


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