UNEP Chief Addresses First Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Nairobi, Kenya, 3 October 2011 Your Excellency the Vice President of Kenya, Kalonzo Musyoka,
Distinguished delegates, members of the international scientific community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to Nairobi and to the headquarters of UNEP and a wide range of UN organizations and agencies dealing with technical, scientific and humanitarian issues locally, regionally and globally.
I would like to thank the following governments of France, Germany, Kenya, New Zealand,Norway, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Commission for their important contributions towards this meeting.
Indeed this meeting and the hugely diverse participation would not have been possible without your support.
The Spirit of Wangari
I believe it is also appropriate to pay tribute to a great Kenyan, great woman, a great environmentalist, a great friend of UNEP's and many in this room and a real leader in the true sense of the word-Professor Wangari Maathai.
Meetings like this will sorely miss her cheerfulness, humanity, intellect, oratory skills and above all that downright dogged determination to not let the small things get in the way of the big picture and what needs to be done.
It is precisely that kind of spirit that should guide this meeting en route to the second and final session next year.