Every year on 5 June, millions of people across the planet celebrate World Environment Day (WED), coming together at the community, national and regional level to promote positive action on the most pressing environmental challenges of our day. In support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), World Environment Day this year adopts SIDS in the broader context of climate change as its theme.
World Environment Day aims to build momentum towards the Third International Conference on SIDS in September, and to 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.
Climate change is foremost among these challenges as global warming is causing ocean levels to rise. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global sea levels are rising at an increasing rate, which is projected to be even greater this century. When global temperature warms, seawater expands and occupies more space. Sea levels also rise when ice melts. Coastal communities in every country are then threatened with floods and storm surges to which these small islands are most exposed.
Small Island Developing States have contributed little to climate change. Their combined annual output of greenhouse gases is less than one per cent of total global emissions, but their position on the front lines has projected many to the fore in negotiations for a universal new legal climate agreement in 2015.
Small island nations share a common understanding that we need to set our planet on a sustainable path. This demands the engagement of all sectors of society in all countries.
This year’s global host for World Environment Day is Barbados, one of many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) facing multi-dimensional issues that require integrated global action.
Barbados’s transition to a green economy offers opportunities for managing natural capital, further diversifying the economy, increasing resource efficiency and supporting the goals of poverty reduction and sustainable development.
GEN WED Roundtable (14:00)
Speakers at the World Environment Day roundtable discussed the disaster risk challenges faced by SIDS countries, in particular the case of Barbados, the contribution from non-SIDS countries within this context, as well as presented concrete examples of actions on the ground in various countries.
Jan DUSIK, UNEP Regional Director and Representative
Elizabeth LONGWORTH, UNISDR Director
H.E. Marion WILLIAMS, Barbados Permanent Reprsentative to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
Josef HESS, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment Vice-Director
Mohammed MUKHIER, Head of Community Preparedness and Risk Reduction Dpt, IFRC
Speeches and reception (15:40)
The roundtable will be followed by official speeches and a reception, hosted by the Swiss authorities.
On the occasion of the World Environment Day 2014
THE SWISS FEDERAL COUNCIL,
THE STATE COUNCIL OF THE REPUBLIC AND CANTON OF GENEVA and
THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF GENEVA
request the pleasure of your company at a reception
on Thursday 5th June 2014 from 3:45 p.m.
as well as at the round table preceding it, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Michele CANDOTTI, UNEP Executive Office Chief & Principal Advisor to the Executive Director
H.E. Marion WILLIAMS, Barbados Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
Josef HESSE, Deputy Head of Swiss Federal Office for the Environment
More information and documents
Detailed information on World Environment Day events in Geneva available on: www.jme-ge.ch
For more information about World Environment Day globally: www.unep.org/wed
UNEP press release on World Environment Day
UNEP Green Economy Scopoing Study for Barbados