16 April 2004 The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) opened a new office today in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, to promote renewable and more efficient energy use and to develop better early warning systems and emergency responses to natural disasters.
Inaugurating the office, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said it marked an important stage in developing the agency's activities across Latin America.
"It should also be mentioned that Brazil is one of the world leaders in the areas of biomass-based renewable energy and is also one of the nations with a rich and important source of genetic diversity," he said.
UNEP said in a statement that it hopes the office will allow it to more effectively respond to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, drawn up in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in the South African city. That plan outlined how the world can take a more coordinated approach to achieving sustainable development and the local and regional levels.
Apart from developing and advocating greener forms of energy use, and enhancing the emergency response to natural disasters, UNEP's Brasilia office will also study climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, and water and chemical management issues.