From Kigali to Haiti - People around the planet gear up for World Environment Day

May 26, 2010
United Nations Environment Programme

Kigali/Nairobi/Worldwide - From Hollywood stars to schoolchildren, millions of people on every continent will take action for the planet on 5 June for World Environment Day.

Under the theme 'Many Species. One Planet. One Future', this year's event will celebrate the incredible diversity of life on Earth as part of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

This year's global host, Rwanda - a country of exceptional biodiversity that has made huge strides on environmental protection - will lead the celebrations with three days of keynote events.

Thousands of activities will also be organized worldwide from Hong Kong to Abidjan, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more.

Global Celebrations in Rwanda

The 2010 global celebrations in Rwanda will involve three days of events on 3-5 June, culminating in the epic Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony in the world famous Volcanoes National Park on 5 June.


This year's ceremony will be attended by 30,000 people and will involve Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, among other high-profile figures who will have the honour of naming the baby gorillas.

2-5 June: UNEP-Bayer youth conference: 'African Youth Standing up for Biodiversity' with youth from across Africa.

3 June:

  • Launch of UNEP report: 'Dead Planet, Living Planet - Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration for Sustainable Development'.
  • Conference on International Biodiversity & Conservation with Achim Steiner, Ahmed Djoghlaf, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Environment Ministers from around Africa.

4 June: Launch of the updated UNEP report and documentary on 'The Last Stand of the Gorilla'

5 June - World Environment Day:

  • Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony in the Volcanoes National Park.
  • Launch of the WED Legacy Project: for every activity registered on the WED website, UNEP will donate US$10 towards gorilla conservation in Rwanda. Energy company Philips will also participate in the project by donating solar home systems that will light 300 houses in Rwanda.
  • Designation of Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador.

WED events around the world

The celebrations in Rwanda are among the thousands of events that will take place around the globe on 5 June, from Qatar to Korea and from Serbia to Chile, to celebrate WED.

Here are a few WED highlights from every continent:

  • 10:10, a global campaign to reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent in a year, will be launched publicly on WED, with events planned in Nigeria, Germany, Portugal, France and in cities across the United States.
  • CinemAmbiente: Italy's top environmental film festival, in Turin, will feature more than 30 documentaries and short films on the environment.
  • UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen will promote WED in her native Brazil in June. She also appears in a Public Service Announcement calling people for action on 5 June.
  • National Geographic and GlobeScan will release the Greendex 2010 survey on 3 June - a unique survey ranking average consumers in 17 countries according to their environmental impact and green behaviour.
  • The keynote event for the Latin America and Caribbean region will be the WED celebrations in Haiti, with the launch of the Haiti Global Environment Outlook report.
  • Pittsburgh is the host of this year's North American celebrations, with more than 130 events and activities including a national conference on water, an Arts and Environment Festival, and the Water Savers Competition whose goal is to see which neighborhoods can save the most water and energy from April to June.  
  • Celebrations in Europe will include major public events in Geneva (Switzerland), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Genoa (Italy), alongside a multitude of events across the continent - among them a circus and poetry slam in Eskilstuna (Sweden) and the screening of a series of environmental films entitled 'Télégrammes Visuels' in Paris (France).
  • Events will take place across Africa, from Cameroon to Mozambique, with a series of tree plantings, beach clean-ups and poetry contests organized around the continent.
  • West Asian celebrations: In Bahrain, prominent poets and singers will gather to sing and talk about the environment and biodiversity.
  • A wide variety of events will be organized in the Asia-Pacific region, from a mangrove clean-up in Jakarta (Indonesia) to the Bangladesh Ocean Festival and No Vehicle Time in Malé (Maldives).


World Environment Day is the people's day for environmental action: everyone can take part. The WED 2010 website is more interactive than ever, with daily tips, information and statistics on biodiversity, and a platform where people around the world can register their activities. This year, the public have had a chance to vote for their favourite gorilla name - which will be announced by Don Cheadle on 5 June - and the winner of the WED Blogging Competition will travel to Rwanda to cover the epicentre of the WED celebrations.

Notes to Editors:

WED, organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) every year since 1972, is the UN's biggest global celebration for positive environmental action. The 2010 theme focuses on the central importance to humanity of the globe's wealth of species and ecosystems, in support of the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity.

This year's host country, Rwanda, was chosen for its combination of environmental richness, including rare species such as the mountain gorilla, allied to pioneering green policies.

Websites for more information:

WED website:

Our world map of WED activities:

The gorilla-naming competition:

The official website of the gorilla-naming ceremony:

The Pittsburgh celebrations: or


10:10 campaign:

For more information please contact:

Anne-France White, UNEP Information Officer, +254 (0)20 762 3088, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Thierry Kayumba, Government of Rwanda, +250 788511272, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Annette Tamara Mbabazi, Rwanda Development Board, +250 788 758 533, or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)