World Environment Day

5 June

The United Nations, aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world, designated 5 June as World Environment Day. The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.

The year 1972 marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics: the first major conference on environmental issues, convened under the auspices of the United Nations, was held from June 5-16 in Stockholm (Sweden). Known as the Conference on the Human Environment, or the Stockholm Conference, its goal was to forge a basic common outlook on how to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment.

Later that year, on 15 December, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/2994 (XXVII)) designating June 5 as World Environment Day and urging “Governments and the organizations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.” The date coincides with the first day of the landmark Conference.

Also on 15 December, the General Assembly adopted another resolution (A/RES/3000 (XXVII)) that led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the specialized agency on environmental issues.

UNESCO, through its mandate for water sciences, brings all its scientific expertise on environmental issues.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

"While ocean plastic pollution is primarily a threat to marine ecosystems, it is also a danger to human health as plastic waste enters the food chain. [...] UNESCO fully associates itself with reflection and action in support of sustainable development, through its scientific, educational and cultural programmes for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. In this endeavour, plastic pollution is a significant challenge."

"It is above all about changing behaviours and attitudes."

—  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, on the occasion of World Environment Day

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