Wanted! Seas and
Oceans – Dead or Alive?
Barcelona and the
Universal Forum of Cultures to Host World Environment Day 2004
This Year's Global
Theme: Wanted! Seas and Oceans - Dead or Alive?
Nairobi/Barcelona, 24 February 2004 - The city of Barcelona, known
for its commitment to culture and urban renewal, will be hosting
World Environment Day 2004, the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) announced today.
The annual World
Environment Day (WED) event, celebrated around the globe each year
on or around 5 June, will take place during the nearly five-month
long Universal Forum of Cultures that is being hosted by the
Barcelona City Council, the Catalan Autonomous Government and the
UNEP, in accepting the offer of Barcelona and The Forum to stage
WED, has been impressed by the wealth of ambitious and innovative
environmental ideas, technologies and infrastructure developments
being undertaken by the hosts as part of the Universal Forum of
Visitors to Barcelona will not fail to see the huge, 10,500
square-metre solar power plant located at the heart of the Forum.
The 1.3 MW of clean, green electricity generated is enough to meet
the needs of a town of 1,000 inhabitants.
Other innovative developments (see also note to editors) include a
pneumatic rubbish collection system that will take waste generated
by the Forum and WED from intakes around the city through an
underground network to a processing and recycling centre.
This year's WED theme, "Wanted! Seas and Oceans - Dead or
Alive?" reflects not only the activities in Barcelona, which
as part of the Forum is holding several activities related to seas
and oceans, but UNEP's important activities in the field of the
marine environment and sustainable coastal livelihoods.
Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said the World Summit
on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which in 2002 drew up a Plan of
Implementation with time tables and targets, had thrown down
several challenges in respect to fisheries, marine protected areas,
small island developing States and marine pollution.
"There was a time when humankind viewed the oceans and seas
as vast and unchanging, able to absorb and dilute pollution, and
provide seemingly limitless catches of fish and other
"Unlike the land, where concepts of ownership and management
have been established for centuries, the oceans have been viewed
as truly wilderness areas, owned by no one and free for all,"
"That was fine in a world, now long ago, where a coastal
mega-city might have been a few thousand rather than 10 million
souls. But the growth in the global population, where more than 40
per cent now live by the coast, allied to our abilities to hunt
faster and further for ever greater quantities of marine-living
resources means we can no longer treat the seas and oceans as a
free for all, uncared for and unmanaged," said Mr. Toepfer.
"So I welcome the generosity and enthusiasm of the Government
of Spain, the Catalan Autonomous Government and the City of
Barcelona to host this year's World Environment Day with its theme
of seas and oceans. I am sure that the awareness that will be
raised will catalyze further, long-lasting action from governments,
right down to the smallest seaside village, to deliver the WSSD
Plan of Implementation. I am also impressed by the commitment to
environmental technologies which show how a modern, 21st century
city can reduce its ecological footprint, not only on the seas but
on the air and the land," he added.
Joan Clos, the Mayor of Barcelona, said: " World Environment
Day will be a key celebration of the Universal Forum of Cultures.
Its focus on peace, sustainability and respect for cultural
diversity, reflects the global issues confronting our world of
which the seas and oceans and the peoples who are linked with them
are a key part".
"Indeed, culture and its links with the environment, are
critical. In many ways it is those culturally rich parts of the
globe where concepts of conservation, of the sustainable
harvesting of natural resources, of living in harmony with
wildlife and landscapes, are so keenly understood. Loss of culture
is not only a tragedy for the world's social fabric, but a loss of
intimate knowledge of the natural world," he said.
UNEP will use the occasion of WED in Barcelona to launch its new
International Photographic Competition, which is being sponsored
The new competition, with the themes of 'Focus on Your World' and
'Celebrating Diversity', aims to increase awareness of environment
and sustainable development issues.
Entries are invited from all nationalities and ages, and from
amateurs and professionals alike. Some of the world's leading
photographers will be judging the competition.
The award ceremony and winners' exhibition will be held at EXPO
2005 in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.
Notes to Editors WED, commemorated each year on 5 June is one of
the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates
worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political
attention and action.
WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972
to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human
Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly
the same day, led to the creation of UNEP.
Information on the day, logos, posters, fact sheets and ideas on
how to celebrate WED can be found at www.unep.org/wed/2004
Inquiries about the UNEP International Photographic Competition
should be directed to Steve Jackson, UNEP Audio Visual Unit, on
Tel: 254 20 623332 or E-mail: email@example.com
Details of the Universal Forum of Cultures can be found at http://www.barcelona2004.org
Apart from the giant solar power plant and the pneumatic rubbish
system, Barcelona will show-case other pioneering environmental
ideas and urban renewal projects.
These include the construction of a new metro station, two tram
networks and the extension of cycle networks, which in the case of
the coastal cycle route will extend the network to Adria de Besos.
Barcelona's Besos river is also being transformed with a river
side park being created between the Molinet Bridge and the sea.
Inflatable dams will keep the river level constant and the new
grassy river banks should prove a joy for visitors and locals out
for a stroll.
The more natural treatment of the estuary should attract migratory
birds. The project will also see power lines running through
hidden service corridors allowing the city to dismantle the
existing unsightly high voltage towers.
UNEP News Release