Rwanda Named Global Host of WED 2010

Kigali (Rwanda)/Nairobi (Kenya), 17 February 2010 –Rwanda, the East African country that is embracing a transition to a Green Economy, will be the global host of World Environment Day 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

World Environment Day (WED), which aims to be the biggest global celebration for positive environmental action, is coordinated by UNEP every year on 5 June.

This year’s theme is ‘Many Species. One Planet. One Future.’ – a message focusing on the central importance to humanity of the globe’s wealth of species and ecosystems. The WED theme also supports this year’s UN International Year of Biodiversity.

Rwanda’s combination of environmental richness, including rare and economically-important species such as the mountain gorilla, allied to newly evolving and pioneering green policies is among the reasons why UNEP welcomed its offer to be the global 2010 host.

While the country faces many challenges ranging from overcoming poverty and developing sustainable energy resources to land degradation, this ‘land of a thousand hills’ is developing forward-looking strategies including the development of renewable energies including hydropower, solar power, biogas and methane gas for power generation.

Rwanda is already internationally-renowned for introducing a ban on plastic bags, nationwide environmental clean-up campaigns and the restoration of previously degraded natural rain forests as part of a chimpanzee conservation programme.

Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda, said: “From preserving our country’s unique biological diversity, to developing modern and sustainable businesses – the environment is central to Rwanda’s vision for prosperity. Protecting our environment ensures a better life for all our citizens and leaves a lasting heritage for future generations. We are honoured to host World Environment Day and look forward to presenting a truly global celebration of the diversity of life on our planet.”

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General, said: “WED has become a dynamic and global grass roots expression of humanity’s desire to realize meaningful and positive environmental change. And Rwanda is an African nation that, despite big challenges, is seizing the multiple opportunities possible from Green Economic policies.”

“The pairing of Rwanda with WED in 2010 is thus a compelling and inspiring alliance—underlining that all economies, rich and poor and North and South have real and tangible opportunities to shape a more sustainable development path: One that develops new business models based on intelligent management of the natural world and high tech clean and renewable businesses,” he added.

WED is a day for everyone on the planet to get involved and go green – from schoolchildren to presidents and from community groups to multinationals.

Rwanda’s capital Kigali will be the venue for this global celebration of the environment, with a myriad of activities over several days to inspire Rwandans, East Africans and people around the world to take action for the environment.

The celebrations in Kigali will be just one of thousands of events taking place around the globe on 5 June. UNEP plans to make WED 2010 into a bigger celebration than ever before, building on the unprecedented success of WED 2009 – when people in more than 80 countries registered activities on the WED website, hundreds of people posted Daily Do Something Tips and more than 10,000 people joined the ‘twitter for trees’ campaign, among other achievements.

Under the rallying cry of ‘Many Species, One Planet, One Future’, WED 2010 will aim to mobilize more people than ever for the environment on 5 June, with a huge variety of activities ranging from school tree-planting drives to community clean-ups, car-free days, photo competitions on biodiversity, bird-watching trips, city park clean-up initiatives, exhibits, green petitions, nationwide green campaigns and much more.

The WED 2010 website will inspire, inform and involve people through unprecedented interactivity, offering daily tips, information and statistics on biodiversity, a platform where people around the world can register their activities, social networking campaigns and competitions to get people on every continent involved. Anyone can organize an event and register it on the WED website – the most important thing is to give a helping hand to the amazing variety of life on our planet.

For more information please contact

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, +254733632755 or +41 795965737, or nick.nuttall@unep.org

Anne-France White, UNEP Information Officer, +254 (0)20 762 3088, or anne-france.white@unep.org

FURTHER RESOURCES

Rwanda Environment Management Association

UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative in Rwanda

Rwanda Ministry of Natural Resources

2010 - International Year of Biodiversity






 




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