Mexico will play host to the 2009 World Environment Day Celebrations, observed every year on 5 June, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the country’s President Felipe Calderón announced today.
The theme for next year’s festivities is “Your Planet Needs You – UNite to Combat Climate Change,” and seeks to propel nations to reach agreement on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December next year.
Mexico’s selection reflects its increasing role in fighting global warming, including its participation in carbon markets.
The country is also a leading partner in UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign – which has recently dramatically revised its target upward to 7 billion trees – spearheading the pledging and planting of one-quarter of the trees for the initiative.
“Mexico is at the cross-roads of the green economy politically, physically and practically,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
It faces many hurdles ranging from high air pollution in its cities to land degradation and poverty, and accounts for some 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“But Mexico is also emerging as one among a group of developing economies who are bringing much needed leadership to the need for a new, comprehensive and decisive climate treaty,” he said.
Mexico, with its emerging market, is set to become an economic powerhouse this century, Mr. Steiner noted. “Thus its ability to encourage the greening of the economy of neighbouring nations – both north and south of its borders – will be significant.”