World Environment Day (WED) was formally designated by the United Nations Environment Programme on 5th
June 1972, the opening day of the first World Environment Conference in Stockholm, and the first World Environment Day was held in 1974. Since then, nearly 150 countries have been involved every year, with activities that range from raising awareness for environmental protection to encouraging action for recycling, sustainable development and consumption, fighting global warming, cleaning up pollution and many other issues.
UN Environment has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, trans-boundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways. The WED 2020 international theme is, ‘Time for Nature,’ and the national theme in Uganda is, ‘Nature is Speaking, Listen.’ This year’s global and national celebrations are unique because they will follow the new normal presented by the impact of Corona Virus Disease -19 (COVID-19) total lockdown. Thus, the engagements will be conducted online via social media platforms – as opposed to the usual ones over the years held through face to face interactions. The celebrations will be commemorated on 5th June 2020 in Columbia as the global host in partnership with Germany. In Uganda the national celebrations are coordinated by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). In this respect therefore, NEMA and partners have organized various engagements in the WED 2020 celebrations.
These fall in the categories of public education; production of information education and communication materials; and media engagement described as follows:
(i) Public education:
a. TV Talk shows-these will be on selected national TV stations;
b. Radio Talk shows in both National and regional radios;
c. Environment messages/Infomercials will be aired on local radios based in the regions;
d. Newspaper supplements published, in the New Vision and Monitor on 5th June 2020;
e. Billboards with WED messages erected in the major entrance/exit routes of Kampala City;
f. E-conference on 5th June 2020, starting at 2:30 Pm.
(ii) Production of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials including the newsletter,
posters, fact sheets and banners.
(iii) A press briefing will be held in NEMA offices on 5th June 2020 to increase the awareness of the public
about the day.
Notable, the ENR-CSOs and networks will participate in these and own online engagements as part of the
WED 2020 celebrations.
Both the global and national themes are timely because surely Mother Nature is speaking to us. This is visible
with several indicators such as: Climate variability, change and associated impacts such as increasing water
levels in lakes (i.e. Victoria, Kyoga, and Wamala) – that have resulted in flooding and landslides in various parts
of the country affecting over 1000 people;