Green economy the focus of Environment Month celebrations in June 2012
31 May 2012“Green Economy: Does it include you?” is the pertinent theme that South Africa will commemorate national Environment Month under this June. The celebration of National Environment Month is an annual event on South Africa’s environment calendar.
This year’s celebration recognises the significance of the green economy and celebrations are aimed at showcasing the work South Africa is doing in the preservation of the environment as well as the creation of job opportunities- both of which are central to the work of the Department of Environmental Affairs.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Green economy is a system of economic activities resulting in improved human well-being, while ensuring the protection of future generations against significant environmental risks and ecological scarcities. The green economy is driven by sectors such as water, fisheries, waste management and policy, research and governance. “The South African government has identified the green economy as one of the key elements in the new growth path as well as in the industry policy action plan,” said Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa.
The transitioning to a green economy brings with it many advantages; these include reduced carbon emissions, energy and resource efficiency and real sustainable economic growth. “A low-carbon, resource efficient and sustainable economy has the potential to create jobs across many sectors of the economy and we can become an engine of development,” said Minister Molewa.
Other key events celebrated during Environment Month include World Environment Day on 5 June (WED), World Oceans Day on 8 June (WOD) and World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June (WDCD). This year the Department will also focus on Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing (BABS) as part of its activities.
World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment to create, educate and raise awareness on environmental conservation. WED is the biggest, most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. This year’s theme for WED, as set by the UN is The Green Economy: Does it include you? The Department has adopted this theme for the duration of Environment Month.
World Oceans Day will be celebrated under the theme, “Knowing our Oceans, Safeguarding its Benefits.” The theme emphasises the fundamental importance of understanding our oceans and how they impact on society, through science and technology, thereby enabling us to manage our ocean resources effectively. Our oceans provide numerous benefits that can only be secured and safeguarded through knowledge. The benefits derived from the oceans include: climate regulation, waste absorption, sustenance (sea food), economic development (tourism, seafood distribution), transportation (shipping), medicine (Biomedical products from marine plants and animals) and recreation (swimming).
World Day to Combat Desertification is observed annually on 17 June. World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1994 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The theme, as set by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is Healthy soil sustains life, let’s go land degradation neutral.
During Environment month all citizens and businesses are encouraged to make environmentally friendly choices, as every action counts. All South Africans are urged to reduce, reuse and recycle.
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Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
31 May 2012
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