Brazil will be the host of World Environment Day (WED) in June, which aims to emphasize how individual actions can have an exponential impact on the planet and help reduce pollution, the United Nations announced on Wednesday.
According to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), in recent years Brazil has taken significant steps to tackle issues such as deforestation in the Amazon which has led to one of the biggest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and it is also at the forefront of building an economy that includes recycling and renewable energy and the generation of green jobs, making it a fitting host for WED.
"In celebrating WED in Brazil in 2012, we are returning to the roots of contemporary sustainable development in order to forge a new path that reflects the realities but also the opportunities of a new century," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
WED celebrations in Brazil will be part of thousands of events taking place around the world. Activities will range from marathons, to community clean-ups, car-free days, green blogging competitions, exhibits, green petitions, and nationwide green campaigns, among others.
This year's theme - Green Economy: Does it include you? - is as an invitation for individuals to assess where the green economy fits in their daily lives and to evaluate how it can deliver economic and environmental outcomes for a sustainable future in a planet of seven billion people.
Brazil had previously hosted WED in 1992, on the eve of the first Earth Summit, when world leaders, government officials and international organizations met to refocus, recalibrate and deliver a route map towards sustainable development.
"The contemporary direction of sustainable development was born in Brazil - in many ways its future health, maturity and ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a markedly different world will be forged in Brazil in four months' time," said Steiner, referring to the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) which will also be hosted in the South American country just a few weeks after WED.
"The history of Brazil, the complexion of its diverse and dynamic economy with its natural and nature-based resources allied to its industries and its current and future role in international relations, offer a lens and a unique perspective through which a broad-based, transformational outcome is possible at Rio+20," he added.
As part of the preparatory activities for WED, UNEP announced that the car manufacturer KIA Motors, which is based on the Republic of Korea (ROK) will donate fuel-efficient cars for a global competition to mark the day.