Background

What is WED?

World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in more than 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

WED is the opportunity for everyone to realize the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change. Through decades of WED celebrations, hundreds of thousands of people from countries all over the world and from all sectors of society have participated in individual and organized environmental action.

History

The UN General Assembly designated June 5 as World Environment Day in 1972, marking the first day of the landmark Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution adopted the same day led to the creation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Two years later, WED was celebrated for the first time for two years in a row with the slogan “Only One Earth.”

In the 1970s and 1980s, WED helped the UNEP to raise awareness and generate political momentum around growing concerns such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming.