Speech of UNDP RR on the occasion of the World Environment Day

Jun 5, 2013

Distinguished Minister Harutyunyan, dear guests and colleagues,

I have the honor to welcome you on the occasion of the World Environment Day. The message for this year’s World Environment Day is “Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint, which is aimed at slashing food waste”.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.

Sustainable consumption is all about ‘doing more and better with less,’ through reducing resource use, degradation and pollution while increasing the quality of life for all. The poorest population is the most affected by such changes as they rely directly on natural resources — such as fish, small-scale agriculture or forestry — for their livelihoods.

Pollution and over-exploitation of the world’s resources are increasingly compromising our own wellbeing and quality of life. The planet cannot afford to continue taking this path. Transition towards a more sustainable lifestyle is crucial to enable future generations to have access to their fair share of resources.

Holding sustainability concept as a major thrust of our operations, UNDP attaches high importance to addressing challenges related to high level of unemployment, persistent poverty, social exclusion, depletion and degradation of natural capital and continuous high levels of environmental pollution.

I am very pleased that today, at this very day, UNDP Armenia, jointly with the Government of Armenia, are giving birth to a new project, which integrates environmental and social concerns into the management of pastures and forests.

The project's objective is to demonstrate a sustainable natural resource management model in degraded mountainous pastures and forests of Armenia and increase ecosystems’ capacity to sequester carbon under pending climate warning risks. The project will pilot an innovative pasture management system for rehabilitation of 2,000 ha. of pasturelands and rehabilitation of 60 ha. of forest belt in selected region. It will promote better understanding of problems related to climate change impact and its socio-economic dimensions such as rural production and food security.

Dear Colleagues,

On the occasion of the World Environment Day, I would like to once again extend my thanks to the Government and the people of the Republic of Armenia for our continuous fruitful cooperation towards sustainable development.

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