As 5 June nears, San Francisco, California, is gearing itself up to celebrate World Environment Day 2005 in style.
Looking forward to a "successful and creative commemoration of World Environment Day 2005", the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said: "It is most fitting that San Francisco, birthplace of the United Nations and one of the world’s most dynamic urban areas, will be the host city for the global celebration of World Environment Day 2005."
The Mayor of San Francisco, Mr. Gavin Newsom, said: San Francisco is honoured to host United Nations World Environment Day 2005. We are delighted to work with the United Nations Environment Programme to make sure that World Environment Day in San Francisco leaves a legacy that will advance environmental well-being here at home and around the world.
Under the theme of Green Cities, the programming for the 'Day' actually spans five days, with each day focused on a specific theme: Urban Power, Cities on the Move, Redesigning the Metropolis, Pure Elements, and Flower Power. As well as more than 200 community-based activities, the City of San Francisco has organized 40 high-profile events, with UNEP hosting a further 12. WED events will include workshops, tours, a Green Cities Expo and art events at Fort Mason, films at the Castro Theater, lectures, presentations, and more.
Among the highlights of WED will be the Urban Environmental Accords Green Cities Declaration, which will be signed by mayors from more than 60 cities from around the world. The Accords cover seven environmental categories - energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health, and water - that cities can address to promote sustainable urban living and improve the quality of life for urban dwellers. The Accords also lay out 21 practical actions that cities can take to meet the needs of the present without compromising the health of the planet or the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director, said: It is up to cities in the developed world to set an example in areas such as the efficient use of energy and water. And it is incumbent upon them to partner developing world cities so they do not take a short-term 'dirty' development path, but a long-term sustainable one. If this can be done, we can help realize the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and in doing so rid the world of poverty - the most toxic element of all."
The signing of the Accords on 5 June will coincide with the opening of an exhibition of the global winning entries of UNEP’s Children's Painting Competition at Zeum, the innovative arts and technology museum where youth and families bring the power of their imaginations to create stories, music, videos and art that reflect their world in relevant ways. The global winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 3 June.
UNEP is also using WED 2005 in San Francisco to launch the UNEP Atlas of our Changing Environment at the California Academy of Sciences. One Planet Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment, produced in collaboration with the United States Geological Survey, NASA and the University of Maryland, contrasts spectacular satellite photographs of the past few decades with contemporary images, some of which have never been published before.
more information: www.unep.org