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Message of UNEP executive director, Klaus Toepfer, on the occasion of World Environment day 5 June 1999

Nairobi, 12 May 1999 - The well-being and the hopes of the peoples of the world can never be served until the environment and eco-systems that sustain all life on earth are secure.

With this goal in mind, every year on 5 June the global community comes together to celebrate World Environment Day.

This year's theme Our Earth - Our Future - Just Save It! is a reminder to each and every one of us, young and old, rich and poor alike, that we have the knowledge, the power and the technology to address and even solve many of the environmental ills facing our planet. What we lack is the political will to mobilize our resources to meet this challenge, but we cannot afford to wait.

Once a species is extinct, no wishful thinking can bring it back. Not the best landscaping can resurrect the beauty and majesty of the mountain that has been stripped of its forest and vegetation.

Hunger, disease, poverty, air and water pollution, land degradation, ozone layer depletion, and all the environmental issues with which we struggle every day can be corrected. Yet we have not taken adequate steps to move us in that direction.

On this World Environment Day, I would like to call on every sector of society - governments and non-governmental organizations, individuals and community groups, business and industry, faith communities and civil society at large - to take those adequate steps, because it is at the local and national level where action to protect the environment acquires its full meaning. Participation at the community level is a precondition for promoting and achieving global results.

On this special UN Day, let us take those adequate steps to stop the heedless exploitation and destruction of the environment by making the necessary changes in our own lives, in our own attitudes and in our own behavior. Our survival and that of future generations depends on it. We don't have another thousand years!

Let the positive changes we make in our lives, in our own attitudes and in our own behavior toward the environment guide us into the next millennium. We don't have another thousand years.



For more information please contact:
Tore J. Brevik,
UNEP Spokesman and Director of the Communications and Public Information Branch,
on tel: (254-2) 623292, Fax: 623692,

UNEP News Release 1999/30

Saturday 05 Jun 1999
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