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UN’s Top Environment Official Checks Out Sanctuary

A taste of Wellington’s unique biodiversity in the form of the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is on the agenda today for visiting United Nation’s Environmental Programme director, Dr Klaus Töpfer.

Dr Töpfer, who is visiting New Zealand as a guest of Environment Minister Marian Hobbs, said he wanted to visit local examples of where practical efforts were addressing the rapid decrease of indigenous native plant and animal species.

"Wellington is unique in having in its own backyard a fantastic example of what a community can do to protect and promote New Zealand’s incredible native plants and animals," Marian Hobbs said. "What better place to take Dr Töpfer.

"The tide of decline in our biodiversity has to be turned. Protecting biodiversity is one of this government’s four highest environmental priorities, along with climate change, genetic modification, hazards and waste reduction."

As well as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr Töpfer will visit Otari-Wilton’s Bush and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) campus where research is being done on climate change, ozone depletion and oceans.

Dr Töpfer will also meet with senior government officials and give an address on global environmental issues and international environmental governance. The audience will include representatives from business and industry, environmental groups, local government, scientists and professionals interested in international environmental issues.

The United Nations Environment Programme works to provide global leadership on environmental issues in partnership with governments and communities. It publishes state-of-the art environmental assessments and scientific research. It catalyses international action on wastes, toxic chemicals, biodiversity, climate change, ozone, oceans and natural resource management. It has played a crucial role in developing international environmental protection conventions.

During his short visit, Dr Töpfer also appointed Sir Peter Blake a special envoy to the United Nations Environment Programme.


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