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Celebrations in Belgium confirm WED to be biggest event for environmental action

A variety of WED celebrations took place in Brussels between 3 and 8 June, confirming the day to be the biggest call and mobilization for positive environmental action in the city.

Upon the initiative of the Brussels Region, on 7 June more than 70 associations replied to public queries from 24 000 visitors by proposing sustainable solutions for a better planet and future through workshops, exhibitions, tastings and games at the city’s Parc du Cinquantenaire.

UNEP - supported by FAO, UNESCO and UNRIC - vastly contributed and represented its work on this year’s local theme of climate change, connecting it to the global WED theme on sustainable consumption and the Green Up campaign. We provided games for children, displayed an infographic on COP21 produced by UNRIC with support from UNEP in the three most common local languages (French, English and Dutch), and organised an area for demonstrations of vertical gardening in collaboration with the Brussels-based NGO Biodrome.

The interactive games and quizzes focused on waste, the time needed for biodegradation of a number of elements, energy efficiency and sustainable consumption. Furthermore, in recognition of this year’s slogan ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care,’ UNEP encouraged visitors to make a pledge for a healthier planet in support of the environmental Sustainable Development Goals. UN Special Envoy for the Syria crisis Mr Staffan de Mistura even made a surprise visit to the team with his wife (see picture).

Earlier in the week from 3 to 5 June, the World Environment Day was publicized widely in our popular information stand at Green Week, the biggest annual gathering for the environment community in Europe attracting each year over 2000 participants, once again inviting visitors to make a pledge on the official WED website.

On 8 June, UNEP joined forces with CineONU to screen the documentary ‘Merchants of Doubt’ at the prestigious Brussels Centre of Fine Arts. It was attended by 500 people. The film was followed by a lively debate between Ulf Bjornholm, Head of UNEP Liaison Office to the EU, Tom Brookes Executive Director, Strategic Communications at the European Climate Foundation, Leo Hickman, Director and Editor at CarbonBrief, former Guardian journalist, Fiona Hall, Former MEP and Vice-President of the European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources, and a highly engaged audience, which contributed without doubt to an enlightening and enriching the debate in Brussels on communicating about science, with special focus on climate change and the drivers behind climate skepticism.

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