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United Nationes signs partnership with Animal Planet to promote

New York, 4 October 2001 - The United Nations today announced the formation of a promotional partnership with the Animal Planet television channel aimed at generating awareness for conservation and biodiversity around the world. Tied to the channel's annual programming special, World Animal Day, which will air on Sunday, 7 October, around the world, the partnership will leverage the joint resources, knowledge and efforts of both organizations. Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Interim Head of the UN Department of Public Information, Dawn McCall, President, Discovery Networks International, and Michael Cascio, General Manager and Executive Vice-President of Animal Planet, made the joint announcement.

The UN's Global Environment Outlook 2000 highlights that the importance of educating people about the earth's environment is crucial given problems that now exist in many areas of the world from land degradation and deforestation, to air pollution and global warming, to inadequate water supplies and the loss of untold numbers of plant and animal species.

Over 100 species are lost everyday and about 40,000 species become extinct every year, according to some scientific estimates. Many species are increasingly at great risk, as over 25% of the world's approximately 4,630 mammal species and 11% of the 9,675 bird species are at significant risk of total extinction.

"The United Nations partnership with Animal Planet will help educate millions around the world about the importance of protecting the earth's precious biodiversity for the benefit of all people", said Mr. Tharoor.

"Collaboration with the UN and its subsidiary bodies, including the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), is a natural partnership that exposes millions of viewers to issues such as species conservation, habitat protection, and biodiversity", said Ms. McCall. "Under the partnership, the UN recognizes World Animal Day as a globally endorsed event, which will provide added exposure to this special programming event on Animal Planet."

"It is critical for Animal Planet as a media role model to initiate and define key partnerships that reflect our core mission", said Mr. Cascio. "We have a social responsibility to raise awareness about key global issues that affect our world today."

Each organization will tap its unique resources to generate awareness and exposure for the natural world and precious wildlife.

-- The UN provides access to information?including a web site ( through its UN Works programme?about its projects that promote species conservation, habitat protection, and biodiversity. The web site also includes links to educational information and projects developed by UNEP, UNDP, other UN agencies and their global partners.

-- Animal Planet is committed to creating stand-alone global programming for World Animal Day, developing promotions, and using its airtime to highlight environmental issues and bring attention to the UN's efforts to educate people around the world about the importance of biodiversity to the future of our planet. Animal Planet's partnership with the Earth Communication's Office (ECO), a non-profit, also generates exposure for these issues via web site collaboration with Animal Planet and the UN for World Animal Day. "ECO's mission is to use the power of communication to protect the global environment", said Ruben Aronin, ECO's Executive Director, "and with World Animal Day, Animal Planet has demonstrated perfectly
how a network can entertain while educating viewers about environmental issues. ECO is proud to collaborate with Animal Planet and the UN on this effort."

Note to editors:

Internationally, Animal Planet is a joint venture of the world's most respected names in non-fiction film:
BC Worldwide Ltd., the commercial arm of the BBC, and Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI).
Launched in the U.S. in October 1996, and now available in over 74 million homes, Animal Planet offers
a wide range of television entertainment including dramatic reality-based series, talk shows, original
fictional programming, high-quality children's shows, documentaries and more. Discovery Networks,
International (DNI), a division of DCI, reaches subscriber households in more than 155 countries and
territories worldwide, in 33 languages. Visit Animal Planet on the Web at

Animal Planet's partnership with the Earth Communications Office (ECO), promotes conservation
and biodiversity, providing outreach to their broad membership, including prominent members of the
conservation, scientific and entertainment communities. ECO also supplies public service
announcements (PSAs) about endangered animals for air on Animal Planet. ECO, a non-profit, non-
partisan organization based in Los Angeles, uses the power of communication to improve the global
environment. ECO's board is made up of Hollywood's premier talent in the film, television, music,
advertising and public relations realms. ECO uses the skills and talents of its Board and other members
of the entertainment industry to create public service campaigns that educate and inspire people around
the world to take action to protect the planet. ECO's unique, award-winning campaigns are seen by more
than a billion people worldwide every year. ECO has also worked with UNEP on developing a series of
PSAs for international audiences in the six UN official languages. Visit ECO's website at

For more information, please contact: Carmel M. Mulvany, UN Works Programme, tel: (1-212) 963-
2300, e-mail:, web:; or Jim Sniffen, UN Environment Programme,
tel: (1-212) 963-8094, e-mail:, web:

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