UN Headquarters to Join Landmarks Worldwide in Observing Earth Hour Fri, Mar 30, 2012

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New York, 30 March 2012 - The United Nations will observe "Earth Hour" on Saturday, 31 March, by turning off the lights for one hour at its New York Headquarters and other facilities around the world, and joining scores of other international landmarks that are participating in the event.

In 2011, more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour to show support for action on climate change.  This year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the United Nations was turning off its lights "in solidarity with the men, women and children - 20 per cent of all humankind - who live with no access to electricity".

Describing Earth Hour as "a symbol of our commitment to sustainable energy for all", he added: "We need to fuel our future with clean, efficient and affordable energy."  The Secretary-General continued: "By acting together today, we can power a brighter tomorrow.  The United Nations is strongly behind this cause from Earth Hour to 'Rio+20'."

Earth Hour, launched in 2007 in Australia by the global conservation organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), calls for people, organizations and cities to turn off non-essential lights for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m., local time.  This is the third year that the United Nations joins hundreds of millions of people around the world in switching off the lights.

Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ("Rio+20") taking place this June in Brazil, called Earth Hour a significant and popular event that helps people think about the need to take actions that promote sustainable development.

 "We cannot continue business as usual.  We need to rethink the way we use our resources, how we promote well-being and protect the environment," he stressed.  "We need to pursue new ideas.  The purpose of 'Rio+20' is to launch actions that will help us achieve sustainable development."

Earth Hour takes place roughly one week after the vernal equinox - when night and day are the same duration in both hemispheres - which ensures that it will be dark everywhere in the world at 8:30 in the evening.

For additional information on the Rio+20 Conference, visit www.uncsd2012.org

For more information on the global conversation, visit www.un.org/futurewewant.

For media information, contact Dan Shepard, tel: +1 212 963 9495, e‑mail: shepard@un.org; or Morana Song, tel: +1 212 963 2932, e-mail: songm@un.org.

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