Honorary Guests

Akpezi OgbuigweHonorary President
Akpezi Ogbuigwe
Head, Environmental Education and Training Division
Environmental Policy Implementation
United Nations Environment Programme
Nairobi, Kenya
A word from Honorary President Akpezi Ogbuigwe

Statement by Akpezi Ogbuigwe, Head, Environmental Education and Training Division

The First World Environmental Education Congress (1st WEEC) was held in Espinho, Portugal. The second was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2004. The third in Torino in 2005, the fourth in Durban, South Africa in 2007 and from May 10 to 14, 2009 we will be gathered in the beautiful city of Montréal, Canada to further reinforce our commitment to environmental education and increased action for the care of 'Earth, our common home’.

The international community places education at the heart of the quest to solve climate change challenges and the environmental problems threatening the present and the future (WSSD 2002, ICEE 2007). This will involve long-term investment by people and institutions. Thus education in all forms and levels is not only an end in itself; it is also one of the most powerful instruments/modalities for bringing about the long term systemic changes required to achieve sustainable development.

The WEEC's vision of inter alia – establishing the continuous exchange of best practices among all nations of the world in environmental education as well as tackling themes of great interest such as participatory democracy, good citizenship, and the equitable and sustainable management of natural resources – is in line with UNEP's mission of providing leadership and encouraging partnership in caring for the environment. This is achieved by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. This has informed UNEP's active partnership with WEEC since its inception.

I look forward to meeting you all as we work together not just to promote an agenda of caring for 'Earth, our common home', but also, in the words of UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, to raise "a new generation that is pro-environment, pro-poor, and thus, pro-sustainable development."