June 5 is World Environment Day (WED), an annual event celebrated since 1972 and dedicated to stimulate global awareness about the environment. This year's WED theme is 'Green Economy: Does It Include You?'
WED, as it is often called, was established by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the start of the UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm from 5th to 16th June 1972. WED has become one of the main vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness on the environment and encourages political attention/actions.
The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as which significantly reduces environmental risks and ecological scarcities in an improved human well-being and social equity.
This can be summed up as being a socially inclusive, low carbon economy that is efficient with its resources.
Practically speaking, a green economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments, that reduces carbon emissions and pollution, enhances energy and resource efficiency, and prevents the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil later this month is being hailed as one of the largest and most important gatherings in the history of the United Nations. In addition to 2012 being an important date in the history of World Environment Day, it is also the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit that was held in Rio in 1992.
This year's Rio+20 Earth Summit will be seen as a once in a generation opportunity to set the world on a path leading to a sustainable low-carbon green economy. It is confidently expected that at least 130 world heads of state will be attending the gathering.
Unfortunately the major problem facing the world is that inspite of the determined efforts in recent years to improve the environment, according to some experts the situation is actually getting worse rather than better.