UNEP in Europe - 2015 Year in Review
Sustainable actions, technology and visions take stage for World Environment Day
A rich medley of events was organised by UNEP across Europe on 5 June as part of the global call for sustainable actions on World Environment Day.
The theme to the 2015 edition of the world’s largest, most celebrated environmental awareness-raising day was ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care,’ tying in with that of the Milan EXPO, which hosted the main WED events - ‘Feeding the Planet. Energy for life’.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and star footballer Mr Yaya Touré tested out different parts of the electric car market by starting their journey from the city centre in an electric Tesla S model before switching to a car converted to electric by an Italian association of craft and SMEs. Mr Steiner and Mr Touré also took part in a cooking class using leftovers to avoid food waste and joined a mascot parade with members of the next generation.
The UNEP Executive Director furthermore joined Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti in signing the Milan Charter – a commitment involving businesses, citizens, government and non-government actors to ensuring food security.
Jan Dusik, director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe, also spoke at a roundtable on the multiple values of European mountain forests in the margins of the main WED celebrations, highlighting their important role in achieving sustainable development and green economy goals.
Exhibitions, tastings and games were meanwhile held in Brussels’ Parc du Cinquantenaire as part of what is the biggest mobilisation for the environment held in the city.
UNEP provided sustainability-themed games for children, presented an infographic on COP21 in three languages and organised a vertical gardening demonstration. Some 500 people also attended the screening of a documentary on the science of climate change and the drivers of climate scepticism organised by UNEP together with CINE ONU.
The Geneva Environment Network joined in with the celebrations by hosting a roundtable on how sustainable procurement can contribute to the transition to a green economy, a pub quiz, an art exhibition on rubbish gyres in oceans and a film screening – attended by 600 people - on saving a national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Experiences in promoting sustainable development were exchanged at a roundtable titled ‘Environmental challenges in the context of global and regional changes’ organised in Almaty, Kazakhstan by UNEP’s sub-regional office in the city together with the country’s UN office and Kazakh National University.
UNEP’s African Mountain Atlas was meanwhile launched at WED events taking place in Vienna, which also included a photo exhibition and documentary screening, attracting a wide range of guests including journalists, NGOs, academia and government officials.
More than 400 people, including Moldova’s Prime Minister, furthermore attended a conference held in Chisinau on how green economy principles can be enacted on the ground.
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, while thematic visits to Moscow’s zoo were organised for disabled children by UNEP’s office in the Russian capital. WED was furthermore promoted on 150 electronic billboards in Paris.