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Saving our Earth. World Environment Day, 5 June 1999

Nairobi, 3 June 1999 - World Environment Day (WED), 1999 has as its theme: Our Earth, Our Future - Just Save It. The main events to mark this day - June 5 - will be held in Tokyo. However, in towns and villages around the world, people will participate in various activities, the aim of which will be to awaken an increased awareness of what the day symbolizes.

In Kenya, numerous activities are planned. Of major interest is a search by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the National Environmental Secretariat of Kenya (NES) for Kenya's top 50 success stories in the field of environmental activities at the rural level. The names of those chosen will be announced at the district functions on World Environment Day. Information will also be provided about a competition for the journalist who writes Kenya's best environmental story. NES has also mobilized schools to engage in environmental activities, including plays and dramas and a national art competition based on the WED theme, adapted in Kiswahili to read "Mazingira Yetu, Maisha Yetu, Yalinde"!

UNEP is supporting a Nairobi initiative to plant 1 million trees during the millennium year. An "adopt-a-tree" campaign will be announced shortly.

The private sector, too, is participating in WED activities in an effort to make this day a memorable one. There is a proposal for UNEP with Africa Water Network, Rotary Club of Muthaiga and other collaborating agencies to conduct a situation assessment of pollution in the Nairobi River, leading to policy review, community outreach programmes and mobilization of industries.

At United Nations headquarters at Gigiri, a programme is planned for 4 June. An address will be given by the Minister of Environmental Conservation, Honourable Francis Nyenze. The Minister, UNEP's Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel and UNEP Division Directors will then participate in a tree-planting ceremony.

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP, today recognized as the global environmental voice. From 1972 onwards, a yearly venue has been chosen for the celebration of WED. During the celebrations, there is also the presentation of the Global 500 awards which is given to individuals and organizations, recognized for their contributions to the protection of the environment. This year there are 17 winners chosen from twelve countries, among them are Osew Larbi, a rural farmer from Ghana who has helped protect his country's ecosystem and the Water Partnership Project, a collaboration between two schools in the Republic of South Africa which is setting an example for an entire nation.

Locally, the main activities planned for 5 June will take place in Namanga and will be attended by the Honourable Minister and other dignitaries. The anticipation of WED 1999 and the fervor with which the various activities are being planned seem to indicate that we are truly in earnest about our intentions to Save our Earth!

UNEP News Release 1999/62

Note to Journalists: Among the other activities planned for World Environment Day are:


  • An EcoFest to be held on 5 June at Nairobi's Arboretum organized by the UNEP Youth Advisory Council and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • A schools' debate organized by UNEP will take place at the Village Market.
  • An exhibition portrayal of ECO-IMAGES organized by UNEP and Habitat will be launched at the Village Market. This will include exhibits from major environmental and conservation NGOs, NES and UNEP plus the contributions for the National Art Competition.
  • Clean-up campaigns will be carried out in the cities and towns of Kenya, mobilized by NES, UNEP, Youth Advisory-EA Council and NGOs
  • A song about the environment has been composed by the group Josiah and Audio Vault. It will be sung at a music festival in Nairobi on 5 June.
Saturday 05 Jun 1999
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