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Opening of the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum

Remarks by Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

21 February 2011

HE Mwai Kibaki; President of the Republic of Kenya,

Acting President of the GC, the Honourable Henry Djombo, Minister of Forests, Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Congo,

Honourable George Saitoti , the Kenyan Minister of Internal Security and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Honourable John Michuki, Kenyan Minister of the Environment,

Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Delegates,

UN Under-Secretary General and Head of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang,

UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos,

Edward Norton, award-winning actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity,

Members of the Diplomatic and UN Communities,

Representatives of major groups, civil society and the private sector,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the United Nations headquarters in Africa - the HQs of UNEP and UN-Habitat and numerous agencies and programmes.

Welcome too to a country where under this coalition government some of the 'green shoots' of a world-wide transition to a Green Economy are being glimpsed and formulated.

From the expansion of geothermal in the rift valley; to wind power in Turkana and the restoration and conservation initiatives linked with the Mau forest complex and other water towers.

The two themes for UNEP's Governing Council/Global Ministerial Forum are the Green Economy, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

And also International Environment Governance.

Two themes that look forward to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 or Rio+20 in June next year.

The next 12 months promise to be an exciting and intense time for the international discourse surrounding how to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century.

Full Release

Kenyan President, HE Mwai Kibaki (5th R), UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner (4th R) and other key delegates during the official opening