World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Marking World Environment Day

Marking World Environment Day, UN Officials Urge Creation Of 'Green Cities'

New York, Jun 5 2005

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan heralded the celebration of World Environment Day as an opportunity for individuals, businesses and local and national governments to meet the challenges facing cities.

"Let us tap the great knowledge and natural dynamism of urban areas?and create 'green cities' where people can raise their children and pursue their dreams in a well-planned, clean and healthy environment," Mr. Annan said in a message to those attending World Environment Day celebrations in San Francisco, California, and around the world.

In San Francisco, mayors and urban planning experts from around the globe plan to exchange ideas and sign a slate of UN-backed accords on environmental actions for cities. The signing of the ground-breaking actions collectively referred to as the Urban Environmental Accords -- Green Cities Declaration, will be the highlight of the UN Environmental Programme's (UNEP) commemoration of the Day.

In his message, Mr. Annan said that this year's theme, "Green Cities: Plan for the Planet!" highlights the challenges raised by one of the major trends of our times: the rapidly increasing proportion of people who are living in urban areas -- more than 60 per cent by 2030.

"Such rapid urbanization presents profound challenges, from poverty and unemployment to crime and drug addiction," he said. "And in too many of the world's expanding towns and cities, environmental safeguards are few and planning is haphazard."

The world will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said, unless environmental planning is incorporated into all aspects of urban management. While acknowledging that this poses a big challenge, he pointed out that the needed technologies and expertise already exist.

Echoing this theme, Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director said that with careful planning, cities can be "flagships of sustainable development." In his message marking th "humanity's home?and its future." The UNEP chief offered a vision of cities "where buildings use solar power to help generate their own energy, and waste less because they use power-saving lighting and are well-insulated, where public transport is affordable and efficient, where vehicles pollute less because they are powered by electricity or hydrogen."

Such a city would become part of the solution, not the problem, he said. This city of the future with the support of communities, businesses and, above all, governments, could also be the city of today.

Mr. Toepfer also said cities in the developed world must set an example in areas such as the efficient use of energy and water, and must partner with developing world cities so they don't take a short-term 'dirty' development path, but a long-term sustainable one.

World Environment Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. This year's main celebration from 1 to 5 June in San Francisco coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of the UN's founding in that city.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>


Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC