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World Environment Day – Themes, History, and Hosting Country

World Environment Day is a global event organized by UNEP (UN Environment Programme). The main objective of organizing this event is to spread global awareness about environmental protection.


World Environment Day was celebrated for the first time in 1974 and since then we celebrate it on 5th June every year. This campaign is an excellent platform to reach the world population and encourage them to take action for environmental protection.

You can also participate in this global event by raising awareness about environmental issues and preventive measures. You can follow this article to get more information about the success story of World Environment Day from its beginning to date.

History of World Environment Day

World Environment Day wiki:

In 1972, 113 countries took part in the Stockholm Conference to discuss environmental issues like global warming, greenhouse effects, etc. After the conference, it was recommended that the UN General Assembly should designate 5th June as World Environment Day. It was first celebrated on 5th June 1974, when it got success in becoming one of the big global events.

The main focus was given on raising awareness about environmental issues like environmental pollution, global warming, marine pollution, climate change, etc. Awareness is the most important weapon to fight against environmental issues to save Mother Earth.

From the beginning of “World Environment Day”, every year millions of people unite with this global platform to make it successful. It has been more than 40 years of celebrating World Environment Day on 5th June every year with great enthusiasm to protect the world.

A highlight of the journey and history of World Environment Day from 1974 is quite interesting to look at the success we have achieved –

  • In 1974, World Environment Day was celebrated on 5th June for the first time with the slogan “Only One Earth”.
  • In 1977, the UN Environment focused on raising awareness about ozone layer depletion for the first time and declared it as an environmental issue.
  • Year 1979, the world was celebrating its 6th World Environment Day which is also known as Echo Day. This year the awareness was spread for the necessary actions to be taken for environment protection.
  • In 1981, the attention of this event was drawn to another environmental issue i.e. presence of harmful toxic chemicals in groundwater and the food chain.

Following the awareness of toxic chemicals, the Government Council of the UN Environment has adopted the Montevideo Programme. The main agenda of this program was to make laws and international agreements to restrict the number of harmful chemicals and contaminants.

  • In 1986, plantation of trees was the theme of the World Environmental Day celebration. Plantation of trees has always been important to protect the environment.

The constant success of World Environment Day was able to grab the attention of the political & religious leaders across the world. Many political leaders came forward to take part in this global event by planting trees to take one important step for environmental protection. For example – French President Francois Mitterrand, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.

  • In 1987, we celebrated the 14th world environment day worldwide. This year UN Environment hosted the campaign in Nairobi, Kenya which is also its headquarters.

UN Environment also presented its first award to environmental champions such as Wangari Maathai. Presenting awards was a very good initiative taken by UN Environment to encourage the environment activities worldwide.

  • In 1988, the theme of the incredible event celebration was “When People Put the Environment First, Development Will Last”. This year Bangkok, Thailand also took part in the celebration of this worldwide campaign that seems like a movement to rotate around the globe.
  • In 1989, the celebrations of World Environment Day were hosted in Brussels, Belgium just after a year the Intergovernmental Panel was established. In 1989, the celebrations of the global event were mainly focused on global warming.
  • Year 1992, World Environment Day was hosted in Rio de Janeiro during Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development). The participating countries took part in the Earth Summit to discuss sustainable development, climate change, biodiversity, etc.
  • In 1993, Beijing, China was the host for the global campaign. The main purpose of the celebration this year was to spread awareness among the world’s populous countries.

After 1993, the hosting of World Environment Day once again returned to China in the year 2002 in Shenzhen city.

  • In 1995, South Africa was the hosting country for the World Environment Day celebration. Nelson Mandela was the president at that time who played an important role in spreading international awareness to protect the environment.
  • In 1996, the world environment day was held in Ankara, Turkey. UN Environment had presented a posthumous Global 500 award to a Nigerian activist Ken Daro-Wiwa.
  • In 1998, the pollution of the marine ecosystem was first time highlighted on world environment day. Moscow, Russia was the host city of this event in 1998.
  • In 2000, another achievement was gained in the form of launching a website of world environment day. The objective of the website is to encourage people to register their activities across the globe. The event was conducted in Adelaide, Australia setting the next Millennium Development Goals.
  • In 2001, Secretary-General Kofi Annan used this platform to launch the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. In support of World Environment Day in 2001 different festivities were celebrated in various cities across the world like Italy, Cuba, Torino, Havana, etc.
  • Year 2003, the UN Environment used this campaign to raise awareness about one of the most sensitive issue i.e. save water. This year the host for the event was Beirut, Lebanon.
  • In 2005, the event was hosted by North America for the first time. San Francisco has organized hundreds of events to take the campaign to another level.
  • In 2006, World Environment Day was celebrated in Algeria as a reminder to fight against desertification of the land around the world.
  • In 2007, the host for the campaign was Norway. This year the world’s attention was drawn to melting ice and for three consecutive years, the emphasis was given to climate change.
  • In 2010, wildlife was able to grab the attention of the UN Environment. In 2010 US$85,000 was raised for the conservation of gorilla. The host country of the campaign this year was Rwanda. Rwanda thanked the initiative of the campaign to provide solar lighting in many villages across the country.
  • In 2011, it was the first time when an actor “Don Cheadle” also participated actively in the event to attract many online followers. Also, more than 4,000 different activities were registered across the world.
  • In 2012, World Environment Day came back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil once again. The event was successful in achieving a new record by having more than 4.25 million visits on its website.
  • In 2013, It was held in Mongolia. The main focus was on reducing the ecological effects of food production.
  • In 2014, the UN Environment drew attention to raise awareness about the island nations close to danger due to the harmful effects of climate change.
  • Year 2015, Milan, Italy was the host for the event this year. In support of World Environment Day various countries have uploaded more than 500 videos on YouTube.
  • Year 2016, the UN Environment took international wildlife crimes on a serious note. The host country Angola took a promise to control the trading of elephant ivory. China also committed to winding up its domestic ivory market.
  • In 2017, the impressive profile of World Environment Day succeeded in motivating more than 1800 campaigns across the globe. This year Canada was the host for the event. The prime minister of Canada also joins UN Environment’s Erik Solheim to be a part of the event.
  • In 2018, plastic pollution became a huge environmental issue by the time we reached 45th World Environmental Day. India was the host country for the first time. Leading to the celebrations approximately 90,000 kg of plastic was collected at Versova Beach, Mumbai. Following this, the Indian Govt. also committed to banning almost all single-use plastic to prevent up to 70% of marine pollution by 2022.
  • In 2019, by this time air pollution has become an alarming issue for the environment. This year World Environment Day was held in China. More than 100 countries participated in this global event to spread more awareness about the health of the planet.
  • In 2020, the world was enthusiastic to celebrate World Environment Day with a lot of ambitions and expectations. More than 143 countries participated in World Environment Day. In support of World Environment Day 2020, the 15th meeting of COP 15 (Conference of Parties) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity was held in China.

World Environment Day Themes

Themes of all previous years are given below:

  • World Environment Day theme of 1974 – “Only One Earth during Expo 74”
  • WED theme of 1975 – Human Settlements”
  • Theme of 1976 – Water: Vital Resource for Life”
  • Theme for 1977 – “Ozone Layer Environment Concern; Land Loss and Soil Degradation”
  • WED theme of 1978 – “Development without Destruction”
  • Theme of 1979 – “Only One Future for Our Children”
  • WED theme for 1980 – “A New Challenge for the New Decade: Development without Destruction
  • Theme of 1981- “Ground Water; Toxic Chemicals in Human Food Chains”
  • WED theme of 1982 – Ten Year after Stockholm (Renewal of Environmental Concerns)”
  • Theme of 1983 – “Managing and Disposing Hazardous Waste: Acid Rain and Energy”
  • WED theme of 1884 – “Desertification”
  • Theme of 1985 – “Youth: Population and the Environment”
  • WED theme of 1986 – “A Tree of Peace”
  • Theme of 1987 – “Environment and Shelter: More Than A Roof”
  • WED theme for 1988 – “When People Put the Environment First, Development Will Last”
  • World Environment Day theme of 1989 – “Global Warming; Global Warning”
  • WED theme of 1990 – “Children and The Environment
  • Environment Day theme of 1991 – “Climate Change. Need for Global Partnership”
  • WED theme of 1992 – “Only One Earth, Care, and Share”
  • Theme of 1993 – “Poverty and the Environment”
  • WED theme of 1994 – “One Earth One Family”
  • Theme of 1995 – “We the People: United for the Global Environment”
  • WED theme of 1996 – “Our Earth, Our Habitat, Our Home”
  • Theme of 1997 – “For Life on Earth”
  • WED theme of 1998 – “For Life on Earth with Slogan Save Our Seas”
  • Theme of 1999 – “Our Earth – Our Future”
  • WED theme of 2000 – “The Environment Millennium”
  • Theme of 2001- “Connect with the World Wide Web of Life”
  • WED theme of 2002- “Give Earth a Chance”
  • Theme of 2003 – “Water with slogan Two Billion People are Dying for it”
  • WED theme of 2004 – “Wanted! Seas and Ocean”
  • Theme of 2005 – “Green Cities”
  • WED theme of 2006 – “Deserts and Desertification”
  • Theme of 2007 – “Melting Ice – a Hot Topic”
  • WED theme of 2008 – “CO2, Kick the Habit – Towards a Low Carbon Economy”
  • Theme of 2009 – “Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate Change”
  • World Environment Day theme of 2010 – “Many Species. One Planet. One Future”
  • WED theme of 2011 – “Forest: Nature at your Services”
  • WED theme of 2012 – “Green Economy: Does it include you”
  • Theme of 2013 – “Think. Eat. Save.”
  • WED theme of 2014 – “Small Island Developing States” OR “SIDS” and “Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level”
  • Theme of 2015 – “One World, One Environment”
  • WED theme of 2016 – “Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in Wildlife”
  • Theme of 2017 – “Connecting People to Nature”
  • Theme of 2018 – “Beat Plastic Pollution”
  • WED theme of 2019 – “Air Pollution”
  • WED theme of 2020 – “Time for Nature”
  • Theme for 2021 – “Ecosystem Restoration”
  • WED Theme 2022 –  “Only One Earth”
  • Theme for 2023 – “Beat Plastic Pollution”
  • WED Theme 2024 – “land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience”


World Environment Day 2021

Like every year, we observed World Environment Day on 5th June. The aim for this year was “Ecosystem Restoration,” and the theme was “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.”

On 5th June at 11.00 AM EAT, the government of Pakistan worked as a host country and celebrated ecosystem restoration in the Virtual Launch Gala on world environment day. It was held to celebrate several milestones, including the 10 billion trees. The Pakistan government took several other steps: a new marine protected area, floatation of the country’s first green bond, restoration of land areas, etc.

It was hosted at Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad, where other official members such as UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen, and senior officials from The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN-Habitat, and UNDP, among others as well as from the governments of Germany and Saudi Arabia were present. The hashtags used for the online conversation for this occasion were #WorldEnvironmentDay and #GenerationRestoration.

Further, this year the United Nations has started a mission, “UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration,” to revive our planet from the damage. This is a decade-long mission that began in 2021 and extends to 2030, which aims to prevent, halt, and reverse the environmental degradation on each continent and in each ocean. They hope that this movement can eradicate poverty, battle climate change, and prevent mass extinction. Through the #GenerationRestoration hashtag, the UN raises its voice for taking the pledge to grow more trees, rewild our gardens, clean up rivers and coasts, change our diets, and also green our cities.

World Environment Day 2022

World Environment Day, 2022, was celebrated on 5th June (Sunday). The theme for this year was “Only One Earth.”

The theme focuses on “the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature by bringing transformative changes – through policies and our choices – towards cleaner, greener lifestyles.”

happy world environment day

It was the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm conference in 1972.

That year, the government of Sweden, along with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted the celebration of world entertainment day.

On social media, the UN Environment Programme raised awareness that the earth was our only home and how we could celebrate our transformative actions by celebrating the occasion and protecting and restoring it.

The hashtags that were pretty famous for celebrating that year’s event were #onlyoneearth and #stockholm50. Furthermore, UNDP Namibia asked the world to join the live event on 5th June 2022.

Additionally, the UN Environment Programme in West Asia enlightened souls worldwide by asking people to join the #stockholm50 and share their voice for regenerating ecosystems and communities and rebalancing nature after the COVID-19 crisis.

Other organizations like the Network Girl Tech Initiative Uganda, Miljödepartementet, SEI Research, NEMA Kenya, Stockholm+50, Youth Action Kenya, and many others worldwide planned to celebrate World Environment Day 2022 by raising awareness on social media.

Furthermore, a report was published by Stockholm+50 about the importance of Youth in keeping a sustainable relationship with the environment. This report allowed the young generation to contribute towards providing innovative ideas for saving the earth.

The World Environment Day campaign was still running through Stockholm+50 on Twitter and raising awareness in different ways.

Also Check: World Environment Day Posters Ideas with Slogans.

World Environment Day 2023

Last year, the theme chosen for this significant occasion revolved around one of the most pressing issues of our time: plastic pollution. Under the compelling 2023 campaign slogan, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” individuals, communities, and organizations worldwide united to explore and implement innovative solutions to tackle this escalating environmental challenge.

World Environment Day 2023’s theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” sought to change the way we perceive and use plastic. It encouraged us to opt for more sustainable options, use less plastic that we throw away after one use, recycle more, and support new technologies that are better for the environment.

Côte d’Ivoire and the Netherlands teamed up to host World Environment Day 2023. Côte d’Ivoire took a stand against plastic pollution by leading the way. They had banned plastic bags in 2014 and encouraged the use of reusable packaging instead. The city of Abidjan, their largest city, also became an important hub for eco-friendly start-ups.

World Environment Day 2024

The theme of World Environment Day 2024 is “land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience.”

The United Nations has issued a warning that around 40% of the world’s land surfaces are now in poor condition. This degradation affects half of all people and threatens about half of global economic output. Since the year 2000, droughts have become 29% more frequent. If we don’t take measures to address this issue, by 2050, more than three-quarters (75%) of the global population could be experiencing the impacts of droughts.

Several important activities and projects are planned around the world. These are as follows:

Saudi Arabia as the Host (Main Event): A major global celebration will be held in Riyadh, focusing on strategies to combat land degradation, desertification, and drought. It’s in line with Saudi Arabia’s broader environmental initiatives, like the “Saudi Green Initiative” and “Middle East Green Initiative.”

Understanding the Wood Wide Web: There’s a focus on symbiotic relationships between fungi and tree roots in 2024 called the “wood wide web”. In a Netflix documentary series called “Our Living World,” ecologist Thomas Crowther points out the necessity of these connections to restore ecosystems for the planet’s health.

Event in Germany: Germany’s President will host a World Environment Day forum at Bellevue Palace, Berlin. This event will particularly aim to involve young people in learning about and contributing to environmental conservation efforts.

Mangrove Restoration in Sri Lanka: In Sri Lanka, efforts are being made to improve the health and growth of mangrove forests, which are essential for protecting coastlines and supporting marine life.

CGIAR’s Science Week: CGIAR will host a Science Week from July 1 to 5, 2024, which may include presentations and discussions about sustainable practices and environmental restoration.

Focus on Plastic Pollution: There will be a special focus on reducing plastic pollution, emphasizing the need to cut down on single-use plastics and improve recycling processes.

Through restoration and resilience strategies, these events and initiatives will address some of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time.

How Can We Celebrate World Environment Day?

World Environment Day is about protecting the environment. As it relates to Mother Earth then why just wait specifically for this day to take action for environmental protection? We should cooperate in this event just by adopting a few things all year round, such as:

  • Plant more and more trees. Support afforestation and reforestation.
  • Stop using plastic if not at least omit single-use plastic from your lifestyle.
  • Give preference to carpooling and public transport to control pollution.
  • Make efforts to save water as much as you can for our future generations.
  • Implement 3Rs (Reduce, Refuse, Reuse) to minimize the amount of waste.
  • Prefer to buy environment-friendly products.
  • Switch to energy-efficient appliances.
  • You can also plan your event to support World Environment Day like cleaning up the sea beaches, surroundings, etc.
  • You can use social media as a platform to promote this global event and also the awareness about environmental issues and preventive measures.
  • People can also participate in the World Environment Day events by visiting the official website.
  • Keep equilibrium between supply and demand of resources as resources are limited and hence focus on doing optimum utilization of resources.

World Environment Day is a vital campaign to raise awareness about environmental problems and environmental sustainability. Everyone should participate in this important environmental event to protect Mother Earth.

Share this article with family and friends and let them know about this incredible global event. If you have any more ideas do reply below.

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