General Speech for World Environment Day 2009 Globally Hosted by Mexico,by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director
Mexico, 4 and 5 June 2009 - Felipe Calderon, President of the Republic of Mexico,
Juan Elvira Quesada, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
To be in Mexico to celebrate and to mark World Environment Day 2009 is an honour and privilege.
You have laid the table with a feast of events and spectacles that will make this very special United Nations day—and the days surrounding 5 June—a world class affair despite a recent national and international health emergency.
UNEP is here to demonstrate solidarity—a word that also echoes the inescapable theme for 2009: climate change.
The banner of slogan for WED this year—"Your Planet Needs You: UNite to Combat Climate Change" underlines the urgency of the next 184 days.
In December in Copenhagen, governments must Seal the Deal on a new and transformational agreement on climate change if the world is to avoid disruptive economic, social and environmental impacts.
If the world is to seize the opportunities from moving to a dynamic low—even zero—carbon economy alongside one that is far more resource efficient.
Ban Ki-Moon has called 2009 the "Year of Climate Change"—it is now a year which is half way through and going fast.
WED is an opportunity for the six billion citizens of this planet to signal by words, but especially by deeds that they want real and transformational action from their politicians and world leaders.
And I believe that mobilization of public opinion is happening—just go to news.google.com and see the myriad of events involving millions upon millions of people that are taking place in well over 100 countries and seemingly in ever corner of the Earth.