The UN's World Environment Day focuses on water in 2003


The United Nations' World Environment Day has chosen "Water - Two Billion People are Dying for It!" as its theme for its 5 June 2003 celebrations and awareness-raising activities around the world -- a theme dear to every Ramsar heart. The Ramsar community should be encouraged to participate and ensure that the water message includes wetlands as a key component. That's what the Secretary General is going to do at the "Providing Freshwater for All" roundtable at the International Environment House in Geneva at 10:35 a.m. on 5 June 2003 (book reservations now). (See below).

Here the core message from UNEP's World Environment Day Web site:

"World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

The World Environment Day theme selected for 2003 is Water - Two Billion People are Dying for It! The theme calls on each of us to help safeguard the most precious source of life on our planet - water. This theme has been chosen to support the United Nations International Year of Freshwater, 2003 and World Water Day (22 March). You will note that the logo of the International Year of Freshwater has been incorporated in our World Environment Day logo to highlight this important United Nations Year.

The main international celebrations of the World Environment Day 2003 will be held in Beirut, the first time in the Arab world. UNEP is honoured that the government of Lebanon will be hosting this important United Nations day. View Programme of Events

Broadly, our agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is a people's event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and clean-up campaigns."

Meanwhile, UNEP in Geneva and the Geneva Environment Network will be hosting one of its famous Roundtables at the International Environment House, 5 June 2003, on the topic of "Providing Freshwater for All". Delmar Blasco, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, will be one of the presenters, and his presentation will focus on

  • The need for a truly holistic approach to water resources management, which incorporates the environmental dimension
  • Water ecosystems values and services: more than just satisfying human needs
  • How the international processes related to water management are paying only lip service to the need to conserve aquatic ecosystems
  • What the Convention on Wetlands is doing in this respect
  • A role for UNEP

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