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WED celebrated in medley of events across Europe

Celebrations for the world’s biggest environmental awareness raising event took place right across Europe with a wide range of activities involving UN, academic, government and non-government actors and members of the general public.

In Kazakhstan, a roundtable was dedicated to WED on 5 June in the city of Almaty – the first event to be held since the Head of UNEP’s Sub-Regional Office for Central Asia, Natalia Alexeeva, took on her new role there this year.

International and regional cooperation in the field of environmental protection, the Kazakh experience of promoting environmental initiatives and contemporary issues and prospects for sustainable development were all discussed at the event, entitled ‘Environmental challenges in the context of global and regional changes’.

Participants heard about a number of initiatives taken by the Kazakh National University (KazNU) library, such as the ‘GreenCampus’ model plan for sustainable development of universities. KazNU organised the roundtable together with the UN Office in Kazakhstan and UNEP Sub-Regional office for Central Asia.

The event - which was attended by university staff and students, the Institute of Ecology and others - also paid tribute to the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the opening of the UNEP sub-regional office in the country.

WED kicks off Summer for the Environment in Sarajevo

Meanwhile, a visit to protected areas in the Sarajevo canton, a press conference and awareness-raising on nature through art all formed part of WED events taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The latter event built on the successful production of a short film about the country’s biological and landscape diversity and took place at Sarajevo’s Film Festival. As such, WED has kicked off a full programme of activities as part of the city’s Summer for the Environment.

Green Economy highlighted in Moldova

Further East, another event organized for WED saw the importance of transitioning to a Green Economy (GE) highlighted during a conference in Moldova. Attended by over 400 people - including the Prime Minister, Environment Minister, ambassadors and development partners – the conference is now expected to encourage practical implementation of GE principles and in turn achieve national GE targets.

Meanwhile, the River Bic, which passes through its main polluter - the Moldovan capital Chisináu - also enjoyed a clean-up undertaken by the National Environment Centre NGO. Even the Moldovan army joined in to help.

Albania joined in with the WED celebrations with an initiative designed to raise awareness on the use of plastic bags and their impact on the environment. Almost every item sold currently comes with a plastic bag in the country, but customers at CONAD supermarkets were from 28 May to 5 June invited to pay a voluntary contribution for those they used.

Proceeds from the project will go to a project to clean up the Ishëm river – currently home to a large amount of municipal waste originating from the country’s capital, Tirana.

Dedicated WED events being held in Moscow

A number of activities are also being organized by UNEP’s Moscow Office for WED.

On 5 June, the Office took part in an awards ceremony for the Russian National Environmental Prize, organized by the Environmental Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation. The Office also took part in the ‘Sustainable Development: National and International Priorities’ conference dedicated to WED, organised by the Commission on Environmental Protection of the Russian Civic Chamber, Sustainable Development Institute and Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the Moscow Government.

Between 8 and 19 June, the Office is furthermore organising awareness-raising thematic excursions to the city’s Zoo for disabled children from orphanages and boarding schools belonging to the Maria’s Children Foundation. A special event dedicated to WED will also be organized by the office later this month (see On the calendar).

Meanwhile, WED was promoted on over 150 electronic billboards in Paris - as is now custom - while a staff event on sustainable lifestyles coincided with the 40th birthday of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. A quiz was furthermore prepared for 20 Minutes, a free tabloid boasting three million readers.

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