The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that India will be the global host of World Environment Day 2011 (WED) on 5 June.
This year's theme 'Forests: Nature at Your Service' underscores the intrinsic link between quality of life and the health of forests and forest ecosystems. The WED theme also supports this year's UN International Year of Forests.
India is a country of 1.2 billion people who continue to put pressure on forests especially in densely populated areas where people are cultivating on marginal lands and where overgrazing is contributing to desertification.
But the Indian Government has also found solutions. While the socio-economic pressures on the country's forests are tremendous, India has instituted a tree-planting system to combat land-degradation and desertification, including windbreaks and shelterbelts to protect agricultural land.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "Over close to the 40-year history of WED, India's cities and communities have been among the most active with a myriad of events undertaken across the country each and every year—so it is only fitting that this rapidly developing economy is the host in 2011."
"India is famous for its culture, arts, movies and world-beating Information Technology industries. Increasingly it is at the forefront of some of the 'green shoots' of a Green Economy that are emerging across the globe," he said.
The celebrations in India on 5 June will be part of thousands of events taking place around the globe. WED 2011 will emphasize how individual actions can have an exponential impact, with a variety of activities ranging from school tree-planting drives to community clean-ups, car-free days, photo competitions on forests, bird-watching trips, city park clean-up initiatives, exhibits, green petitions, nationwide green campaigns and much more.
This year UNEP plans to make WED 2011 into a bigger celebration than ever before, building on the unprecedented success of WED 2010 - when people in more than 112 countries registered activities on the WED website and WED was thrust into the blogo-sphere with the first-ever WED- blogging competition.
The WED 2011 website will inspire, inform and involve people through unprecedented interactivity, offering daily tips, information and statistics on forest conservation, a platform where people around the world can register their activities, social networking campaigns and competitions to get people on every continent involved. See: http://www.unep.org/WED.
Anyone can organize an event and register it on the WED website, and each of these individual actions when taken collectively will go a long way to securing important forests services for generations to come.
Greening the Blue will be working closely with the WED team and encourages UN staff across the world to get involved.