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Top Global Environment Official To Visit

1 July 2000

The United Nations’ most senior environment official, Dr Klaus Töpfer, will visit New Zealand this week for talks with the government and to meet yachtsman and adventurer, Sir Peter Blake.

Dr Töpfer is the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, based in Nairobi. The UNEP's mandate is to provide global leadership on environment issues in partnership with governments and communities.

Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs, who is hosting the visit, said that under Dr Töpfer’s leadership since 1998 the UNEP has improved its capacity to address the world’s most serious environmental issues.

"I am looking forward to discussing with Dr Töpfer a range of issues important to New Zealand and the world including preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next year, climate change, biodiversity and regional environment issues," Marian Hobbs added.

A highlight of the visit will be a luncheon in Auckland for Dr Töpfer hosted by the Prime Minister Helen Clark and co-hosted by Sir Peter Blake on behalf of his new enterprise, Blakexpeditions. Blakexpeditions conducts voyages through regions such as the Antarctic and the Amazon raising environmental awareness.

In Wellington, Dr Töpfer will give an address on global environmental issues and visit the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, the Otari-Wilton's Bush Native Botanic Garden and Forest Reserve, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

"While international issues will be discussed fully during the visit, we also intend to showcase for Dr Töpfer some of the work underway in New Zealand to meet the government’s goal of protecting and enhancing our environment within the overall context of sustainable development," Marian Hobbs said. "Dr Töpfer’s visit is timely given our Rio+10 Community Programme which is seeking the views of all New Zealanders on our current environmental performance."

Dr Töpfer, a former Minister for the Environment in the Federal Republic of Germany, will be in New Zealand from Wednesday to Friday (4-6 July).


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