Geneva focus of regional UN celebrations in Europe

In 2010, the United Nations family in Geneva, Switzerland, will come together for its largest ever World Environment Day celebrations - and everyone is invited.

“The United Nations family in Geneva goes green on World Environment Day. It is our opportunity to show what we are doing for biodiversity and a sustainable future for people across the globe. We have one planet and it belongs to us all. Let us work together to conserve it.”
Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

Here are highlights of WED 2010 activities planned for Geneva. A detailed programme will be available soon. For information in French visit:

WED 2010 Roundtable on Biodiversity
International Environment House, Friday 4 June
Organised by the Geneva Environment Network, a WED 2010 Roundtable will take place at International Environment House, Châtelaine, from 10-12 am. In keeping with the International Year of Biodiversity and the theme for WED 2010, the topic is ‘Biodiversity and international environmental governance”.
Among the speakers will be the incoming Secretary-General of CITES, John Scanlon, the Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention, Anada Tiéga, the Head of the UN-REDD Secretariat, Yemi Katerere and a representative from the Swiss Federal Office for Environment.
The roundtable will be followed by an invitation-only WED celebration hosted by the Swiss Government.

Palais des Nations Park, Place des Nations and WIPO
United Nations World Environment Day, Saturday 5 June
The UN Office at Geneva (UNOG), UNEP, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and a suite of other UN agencies will join with the City of Geneva, corporations and non-governmental organizations to stage a major celebration centered around the Parc of the Palais des Nations and Place des Nations and at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). A multitude of activities are planned for people of all ages. A mini train will transport people between the main sites.
In addition, for a fortnight surrounding WED 2010, UNEP flags will line the famous Mont Blanc Bridge in Geneva’s city centre.
Geneva is the biggest United Nations duty station outside of UN headquarters in New York. Two thirds of the activities of the United Nations system are headquartered in Geneva, making it a key centre of international cooperation and multilateral negotiation. Geneva and the surrounding area serve as headquarters for major international organizations dealing with the environment, and other relevant organizations.


Palais des Nations Park
The Palais des Nations is located in one of the biggest and most prestigious parks in Geneva, on the right bank of the City, with an outstanding view of Lake Geneva. In 2009, UNOG has been awarded the prestigious "Nature Reserve Certificate" by the Swiss non-profit organization "Fondation Nature & Economie". This well-known environmental quality label is awarded to entities that protect nature and contribute to biological diversity by managing at least 30 per cent of the green areas around buildings in a natural manner. The award of the Certificate constitutes an acknowledgement of UNOG’s firm commitment to climate neutrality and enables the Office to show an important example in line with the Secretary-General’s priorities. UNOG’s many initiatives to qualify for the Certificate include, among others, avoiding pesticides, utilizing compost and making use of sheep instead of lawnmowers. As a result of these concerted efforts over several years, visitors can enjoy the rich biodiversity of the 46-hectare park, with trees over 100 years old, more than 68,000 m2 of lush grassland and a large variety of flowers.

The Palais des Nations park will be open to the public and this will include the inauguration of a guided nature trail. Several activities, including concerts, shows, dances, roundtable, will be organized within the park.

Place des Nations
The public with gather to Palais des Nations and WIPO from Place des Nations. Stands and activities with UN partners and other environmental actors will be organized around Place des Nations. The main UNEP stand will be located on Place des Nations.

WIPO is dedicated to helping to ensure that the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property are protected worldwide and that inventors and authors are recognized and rewarded for their ingenuity.
Activities around AOC products and new green technologies will be organized at WIPO.

Biodiverstiy in Geneva
Geneva is home of over 1000 species of higher plants - including 37 orchids. Its diversified wildlife (over 10,000 species) includes a sort of aquatic turtle and more than 150 species of birds. Furthermore, Geneva cultivates 35 varieties of apples and 60 varieties of vines.

This remarkable richness is however endangered; a third of the species of butterflies, half of the amphibians and reptiles have either disappeared or are in a critical situation. The threats are many: the impact of roads, agricultural intensification, fragmentation of land, etc. Significant steps are being undertaken by the State of Geneva in collaboration with numerous public and private partners to preserve biodiversity.

Various international organizations active in the Biodiversity field are based in the Geneva area. These are grouped within the Geneva Environment Network (GEN), a partnership supported by the Federal Office for the Environment and managed by the United Nations Environment Programme.
Many events targeting biodiversity have occurred or will occur throughout the year in Geneva. Some are reserved for specialists or government officials. Most of the international organizations based in Geneva have addressed or will address the issue of biodiversity in various meetings this year.

IYB in Geneva :


Take A Stand of the Gorillas

The Last Stand of the Gorilla Report

Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP)