What others think...

What others think...

Quotations from around the world

UNEP was established following the Stockholm Conference in 1972, and Sweden has always given strong support to the Programme. As INCD Chairman, I have also relied on the expertise of UNEP in dryland management.

The Rio process has given substance to the concept of sustainable development. Since the global environment is a key component of sustainability, UNEP has a major role to play in our common efforts to ensure long-term human survival.

Bo Kjellén, Ambassador and Chief Negotiator at the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, Sweden

In its short life span, UNEP has played a major role in placing the environment on the global agenda and in raising the environmental consciousness of governments and people worldwide. I look forward to UNEP's continued contribution to our expanding environmental knowledge base and the formulation of appropriate policy responses to environmental problems by the international community.

Nitin Desai, Under Secretary-General of the Office for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations

woman in field

For 25 years, UNEP has been playing an outstanding role in protecting the global environment, promoting sustainable development in the world, and international cooperation in the environmental field. China is very willing to work together with UNEP to make our planet better and more beautiful.

Xie Zhenhua, Administrator of the National Environment Protection Agency, China

At the approach of the new millennium, it has become self-evident that the future viability of this planet will depend to a large extent on our ability to achieve sustainable development. UNEP will thus continue to play a critical role in assisting rich and poor nations to take care of the environment for the benefit of countless generations to come.

Anand Panyarachun, Chairman of the Saha-Union Public Company Limited, Thailand

We need UNEP mega-much more than ever. At every single one of the major international conferences during the 1990s thus far, it has become plain that there is a progressive premium on interdisciplinary science and interagency activities. All hail, then, to the integrative work of UNEP, matching the seamless dynamics of the world outside the window. I look forward to the achievements of UNEP over the next 25 years - though I can't imagine how momentous they will have to be, given the acute needs of a divided world.

Norman Myers, Consultant in Environment and Development, United Kingdom, and joint winner of the UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize, 1995

woman in field

Over the next quarter-century, UNEP and its numerous partners in the worldwide environmental protection movement are challenged to forge closer cooperation and solidarity among the different members of our single global ecosystem in order to promote a common vision and active commitment to honour and safeguard the natural integrity of our planet Earth. We must work to ensure that the protection of our land, water, air, fauna and flora becomes as deeply ingrained an ethic in the value systems of all peoples and societies as their spiritual and national beliefs and commitments.

Her Majesty Queen Noor of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

UNEP should focus on its original mandate as a catalyst and coordinative body, promoting environmental interest and welfare. In the future, UNEP should become leaner and more efficient in carrying out its role as the United Nations' lead environment agency and the primary source of United Nations environment information within a clearly defined and executed mission statement. This will inherently include a focus upon information development rather than application and operations. A major effort should be undertaken towards creating efficiencies through elimination of redundancy with programmes which can better be implemented by other national and international bodies.

Fahad Bin Abdullah Al Saud, Assistant to the Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General, Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Environment, President of the Executive Bureau Council of Arab Environment Ministers, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

UNEP made a landmark contribution to conservation when along with WWF and IUCN it published the World Conservation Strategy and Caring for the Earth. UNEP has done much to make the recommendations of these publications a reality for the benefit of all humankind. With UNEP's 25th anniversary falling five years after the Rio Summit there is a unique opportunity for it to give new inspiration to the world community to implement Caring for the Earth and Agenda 21. WWF wishes UNEP every success in this endeavour.

Dr. Claude Martin, Director-General, WWF International

woman's face

The Earthsavers Movement International salutes UNEP as a dynamic force in mobilizing indispensable collective action to defuse the ecological time bomb.

UNEP has been an invaluable partner for our eco-literacy drive to fight pollution, conserve bio-cultural diversity, and mitigate climate change to secure a clean and healthy environment for our children.

We are harnessing youth power with the global search for Youth Earth Day Ambassadors in assisting UNEP's mission to stop violence against mankind and mother Earth.

Senator Heherson T. Alvarez, Founding Chairman of the Earthsavers Movement, Philippines

The 25th anniversary of UNEP falls at a moment when everybody, not only President Clinton, starts to focus on the next millennium. This too is the best way to view UNEP's future role, as the organization since its inception has promoted environment as a holistic concept which draws together the sectoral issues of population, development, resource management, equity and growth.

It is clear that UNEP must be more and more a meeting point for reflection on the action of international cooperation's many players, especially the state, civil society and the private sector. This unique role of UNEP is made more urgent in the face of the process of globalization and its harsh implications for the environment.

Dr. Roberto Savio, Secretary-General of the Society for International Development (SID), Director-General Inter Press Service (IPS), Rome

For 25 years, UNEP has been a strong advocate for the environment, focusing the attention of the world community on the need to protect the life support systems of our planet.

UNEP is instrumental in expanding our understanding of complex ecological processes, and plays a positive role in strengthening cooperation on environmental matters.

I look forward to UNEP continuing to build up on its already impressive record of achievements in the years to come.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1992-1996

Today, global awareness of the link between the environment and sustainable human development is greater than ever. This is in large part a reflection of UNEP's work of nearly a quarter of a century both within the United Nations system and with people everywhere. To a significant degree, the prospects for a sustainable human future will be further strengthened by the success we will achieve in meeting the twin challenges of urbanization and improving human settlements throughout our planet. For that reason, we at Habitat value our productive collaboration with UNEP both with communities and local authorities, and we look forward to continuing it in the years ahead

Wally N'Dow, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

man in field

I have long been very supportive of the work of the United Nations and their specialized agencies. Preserving the environment for future generations is one of the most important challenges we face together as a species. UNEP should continue its good work to ensure the issue of environment is a major consideration in all governmental and intergovernmental treaties and conventions negotiated by the United Nations.

R. E. Turner, Vice Chairman, Time Warner, United States, founder of CNN

The coming into existence of UNEP marked a significant milestone in the march of humankind towards achieving a healthy and productive life for all and for ever. UNEP's crusading efforts have established clearly that the environmental problems of our planet cannot be overcome unless unsustainable life-styles on the part of over a billion of the human population and unacceptable poverty on the part of another billion are redressed by all nations together. Development which is not equitable will not be sustainable in the long term. Therefore, during the next phase of UNEP's crusade for Green Earth, we should promote a new paradigm of development rooted in the principles of ecology, social and gender equity, employment and economics.

M. S. Swaminathan, Founder of the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and Joint Winner of the UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize for 1994

We highly appreciate the remarkable achievement of UNEP, which has played a key role in raising environmental awareness and developing legal as well as institutional frameworks for environmental protection all over the world. In dealing with emerging global issues, UNEP's role in the future cannot be overestimated.

Sukio Iwatare, former Minister of the Environment, Japan

A quarter of a century ago, UNEP strode onto the international stage as a bold new attempt to come to grips with fundamentally cross-sectoral and intergenerational issues.

UNEP has since chalked up a long list of achievements. The broad range of environmental agreements it midwifed begin to form an international environmental regime. Such successful experiments as the Regional Seas Programme and the Global Environmental Monitoring System are greatly to its credit.

In other respects UNEP has not lived up to its potential. It has been consistently under-resourced. It has been supported more by words than by concrete actions. Today, with the decline in support for the United Nations organizations, UNEP is weakened at a time when it was never more needed. The 25th anniversary is an opportunity to reaffirm faith in the world's environmental conscience and to provide it with the means to play the role intended by its inspired creators.

David McDowell, Director-General of IUCN-The World Conservation Union

Achieving the transition to global sustainability - the great challenge of our times - can be met only by backing the United Nations agencies concerned with the environment. Their issues are the equivalent of war and peace, and will determine the fate of billions of people. They deserve, and will assuredly capitalize splendidly on, our support.

Peter H. Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, Home Secretary, United States National Academy Of Sciences

It is essential that UNEP continues to fulfil its role as the world's environmental watchdog. No other organization is better placed to monitor the state of the global environment, identify problems, and catalyze the development of international solutions to those problems. In this way, UNEP can make a unique and invaluable contribution.

Rt. Hon. John Gummer M.P., Minister of State for the Environment, United Kingdom


On behalf of the Olympic Movement, I congratulate UNEP for its dedicated work during the last 25 years in favour of the protection of our environment, saving species and habitats, protecting our land and water resources, facing the challenge of toxic chemicals and encouraging the development of environmentally sound technology and industry.

It is thanks to UNEP's leadership in raising awareness and caring for the environment that people and nations have started to develop and improve their quality of life without compromising nature for future generations. It is also through its leading actions that the world's major environmental concerns have been raised, international agreements addressed, and scientific research implemented.

As an integral part of society, the Olympic Movement is also directly concerned by the protection of the environment. Therefore, the International Olympic Committee organized the first World Conference on Sport and Environment in cooperation with UNEP and established a Commission which follows up this issue and recommends environmentally sound policies to the members of the Olympic family.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee

UNEP has worked on many projects over the past 25 years but inevitably the one that I know the most about is the International Children's Conference which was backed by UNEP last year. Without that help and support, the event would not have been the same. It meant we were able to seek delegates from the maximum amount of countries with the minimum amount of trouble.

Now we are beginning to realize the effects that the Conference had in the many countries represented, and from here on the task is to carry out a structured follow-up to judge its success. The many letters and reports in the Leave it to US magazine indicate that the delegates have been inspired by the Conference but what remains to be clarified is how seriously have governments and other adult organizations taken the 26 Challenges that 800 children from 80 different countries issued at the end of the Conference. When all of this has been considered, then it will be time for a second International Conference to ensure the good work that was started in England will continue in the future.

Debbie Simmons, 14-year old Chairperson of the Junior Board, International Children's Conference

Congratulations to UNEP on the 25th anniversary of its founding. Under the corporate philosophy Kyosei - living and working together for the common good - Canon is proud to have sponsored the UNEP International Photographic Competition on the Environment since 1991. Through our involvement in photography, we have thus been gratified to work together with UNEP to help raise awareness of environmental issues among people worldwide.

Fujio Mitarai, President, Canon Inc.

During the last 25 years, UNEP has played a unique role in catalyzing the world to address regional and global environmental issues. UNEP's role in sponsoring international scientific assessments on ozone depletion, climate change and biodiversity has ensured that these global conventions are based on a sound scientific, technical and economic understanding of the issues.

Robert T. Watson, Senior Scientific Advisor, Environment Department, The World Bank

UNEP has provided an invaluable forum for international cooperation and long-term planning across all business sectors. In acknowledging the potential influence of the world's banks in moving business towards the goal of sustainable development, it fully complements NatWest Group's own programme of environmental responsibility and best practice.

Mike Kelly, Head of NatWest Group Environmental Management, United Kingdom

UNEP plays a crucial role in the global effort to restore the environment as it can act as a catalyst to bring together government, industry and the community in a way which no other organization can do.

We have been able to introduce Clean Up the World into 110 countries in a short period of time because of the imprimatur of UNEP - and we have been able to build an incredible network in the process.

Ian Kiernan A.O., Chairman and Founder of Clean Up the World, Australia

Congratulations to UNEP on its achievements over the past 25 years. I hope, in future, UNEP will continue its efforts towards international agreement that all nations attach an economic value to their critical and depleting resources, thereby rationalizing their use and achieving the linkage between sustainable development and the national economy.

Shabib Bin Taimur Al Said, Advisor to H.M. The Sultan of Oman for Environmental Affairs

For 25 years UNEP has worked to stimulate universal concern about environmental issues. It has also served as the environmental conscience of the United Nations.Through its programmes the concepts of sustainable development and the precautionary principle have been widely accepted. More important is the realization that development need not degrade the environment as we have to live in balance with the natural systems which sustain us.

UNEP has set up a useful framework of sound environmental management which the international community will have to implement with greater commitment and determination in the years ahead.

H.E. Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, President of the Republic