World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
In support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), WED this year will adopt SIDS in the broader context of climate change as its theme. Our objectives are to help build momentum towards the Third International Conference on SIDS in September and encourage a greater understanding of the importance of SIDS and of the urgency to help protect the islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities, particularly as a result of climate change. We believe WED will be an excellent opportunity to raise a call for solidarity with the islands.
"Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the launch of the 2014 International Year of Small Islands and Developing States
WED is the opportunity for everyone to realize not only the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change.
WED 2013 generated global coverage and publicity with about 200,000 blog posts and more than 26,000 articles published on WED between 1 and 10 June 2013 alone. Our videos on WED were viewed by close to 120 million people on digital screens in Times Square in New York, Piccadilly in London, and at Live Windows (Benetton stores) in Milan, London, Munich, Barcelona and Almaty. On social media, among Twitter’s reported 200 million active users, WED was among the top 10 most talked about topics in at least 15 countries on 5 June, with an estimated 47.6 million impressions on the Day itself.
It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 on the day that United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began.The first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. Since then it is hosted every year by a different city with a different theme.
World Environment Day falls in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall in the Southern Hemisphere, and midsummer in the Tropical regions.
"Stockholm was without a doubt the landmark event in the growth of international environmentalism", writes John McCormick in the book Reclaiming Paradise. "It was the first occasion on which the political, social and economic problems of the global environment were discussed at an intergovernmental forum with a view to actually taking corrective action."
"Earth Anthem" by poet-diplomat Abhay K was launched in June 2013 on the occasion of the World Environment Day by Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor, Union Ministers of India at a function organized by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in New Delhi.It is in eight languages including all official languages of the United Nations viz. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish. The other two languages are Hindi and Nepali.