World Environment Day 2017 – Connecting People to Nature

The World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental actions that take place every 5 June.

This year’s celebrations are officially hosted by Canada.

“Connecting People to Nature” is the theme of this year to invite people to think about how they are part of nature and how intimately they depend on it. People are encouraged to connect with nature in simple ways such as taking their families outside, going for a hike, taking pictures of their favourite spots in nature or at least walking through a city park.

Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the UN Environment, said, “World Environment Day is the day the planet celebrates our collective love and reliance on nature, it helps encourage action to protect our environment and fosters a deeper appreciation of our connection to the natural world.”

Africa features some of the world’s most amazing natural wonders – impressive mountain ranges, captivating lakes, extensive rainforests, fascinating biodiversity with over 7,291 known species, including iconic animals such as the African Elephants and White Rhinoceros. It also has some of the world’s largest cities which have been undergoing intensive development, and many are in need of effective urban greening.

In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, UN Environment Liaison Office to the African Union, and UN Economic Commission for Africa jointly organized a two-day event (June 5-6, 2017) in Amhara region to celebrate the World Environment Day. On the first day, government officials, Amhara state authorities, and UN Environment with local residents visited Magdala Woreda in recognition of the environmental restoration efforts in the area. A panel discussion took place on the second day in Dessie city with participation of Magdala Woreda, Amhara Environment Protection Agency, and the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change to share experiences on restoration and invasive species control programmes to learn from past experiences.

Other activities took place in Addis Ababa and involved Youth Network for Sustainable Development (YNSD) and Addis Ababa University Center for Environmental Science. A number of events including lectures to raise youth environment awareness, green art performances and green exhibitions, tree planting and cleaning campus will be held. 

H.E Ato Kare Chawicha Debessa, the State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethiopia mentioned “Ethiopia needs to tackle environmental degradation and climate change threats along with our economic development and livelihood, and World Environment Day is a great opportunity to raise environmental awareness from high-level politics to local people and youth.”

Over the last forty years, the World Environment Day has become a platform for raising awareness on key environmental issues in Africa such as wildlife crime, marine pollution and climate change. It helps to drive behaviour change and influence policies at national and regional levels.

More information on World Environment Day can be found at


UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Environment Programme