June has witnessed a series of environment related events taking place in the vibrant city of Brussels. The month started with ‘Green Week’ the largest annual gathering for the environment community in Europe, from 3 to 5 June, showcasing the theme of Nature and Biodiversity. Simultaneously the ‘European Development Days’ (EDDs) witnessed the participation of more than 6000 people on 3 and 4 of June in the 2015 European Year for Development’s flagship event. Throughout both major events, several United Nations Agencies based in Brussels mobilized to promote their projects through a multitude of sessions on sustainable growth and green initiatives for a better future. Additionally, concrete examples of projects were showcased by experts at the respective Project villages.
UNEP, the voice for the environment within the United Nations system, was actively engaged at EDDs, with the participation of UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in a High Level Panel from the European Parliament on how development cooperation can effectively fight corruption and promote good governance; four Project Lab sessions and two information stands in the Project village. It was also leading the way at Green Week with keynote speakers in two sessions and a UN information stand backed by the UN agencies FAO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO and UNRIC.
UN Agencies based in Brussels further joined forces once more on the occasion of the World Environment Day (WED), the biggest call and mobilization to take positive environmental action, at the Parc du Cinquantennaire held Sunday 7 June in Brussels. This major public event organised by the Brussels Region attracted a record of 24.000 visitors.
In collaboration with FAO, UNESCO and UNRIC, UNEP presented its work on this year’s local theme ‘Climate Change’, and connected it to the global WED message on sustainable consumption.
In support of this year’s WED main celebration in Milan Expo under the slogan ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’, the UN team collaborated with local NGO Biodrome giving workshops to visitors on vertical urban gardening using old plastic bottles, compost and a few pieces of wood. The public was also encouraged to make a pledge sharing their dreams for a healthier planet and join UN campaigns such as Green Up. Interactive games and quizzes furthermore focused on raising public awareness on waste, biodegradation time for certain elements and energy efficiency.
A dedicated infographic produced by UNRIC with support from UNEP, was used to explain climate change and what is at stake at the incoming international Summit on Climate Change (COP21 in Paris in December).
Following the WED, another successful event took place at the prestigious Brussels Centre of Fine Arts, BOZAR on the 8 June attended by over 500 people. Once again, UNEP teamed up with UNRIC for a CineONU screening of the documentary ‘Merchants of Doubt’ followed by a debate on communicating about science with an emphasis on climate change and climate skepticism.
Finally, UNEP participated in the European Sustainable Energy Week, a week-long conference from the 15-19 June on Europe’s sustainable energy future coordinated by the European Commission. Besides a popular panel discussion headed by UNEP on District Energy in Cities taking place on 18 June, the UNEP Liaison Office to the EU represented the organisation’s work in an information stand to steer project developers towards greater engagement in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.
More information on these activities can be found on https://europa.eu/eyd2015/en/unep
We invite you to join Leonardo di Caprio, Jack Johnson, Yay Touré and many others to share your dreams and make a WED pledge on http://www.unep.org/wed/wedchallenge/http://www.unep.org/wed/wedchallenge/#7BillionDreams