Featured Updates

It’s time to raise our voices to tell the world that we need action now.

This World Environment Day, it’s time for nature.

In the lead up to World Environment Day, we're featuring updates from United Nations System, from partners and from others helping to to call attention to the fact that the future of humanity depends on action now.


Kenya’s Ban on Single-Use Plastics in Protected Areas Comes Into Effect on World Environment Day

Nearly 3 years after Kenya’s monumental ban on plastic bags, Kenya’s ban on the use of single-use plastics in national parks, forests, beaches, and conservation areas has taken effect.

The ban, officially launching on World Environment Day June 5th, prohibits visitors from carrying plastic water bottles, disposable plates and cups, cutlery, and straws into protected areas, with the aim of curbing the growing plastic pollution.

Plastic bottle in lion's mouth

The Flipflopi, the world’s first 100% recycled-plastic dhow, currently anchored at the Kenya Wildlife Service HQ, wholeheartedly supports the ban. The Flipflopi and its supporters are now calling for East African Community to continue to work together to reduce single use plastics with the region.

 “The preservation of our environment is tied to our wellbeing and the wellbeing of future generations. This ban is yet another first in addressing the plastic pollution catastrophe facing Kenya and the world, and we hope that it catalyses similar policies and actions from the East African community.” Said Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife.

CS Balala inaugurated the Flipflopi dhow in Lamu as the guest of honor for its first sail in Lamu in September 2018 on World Clean Up Day. The Flipflopi - the world’s first sailing boat (“dhow”) made entirely from plastic waste collected from towns and beaches in Kenya, is currently anchored at the Kenyan Wildlife Service HQ, one of the first places that will see the effects from the implementation of this transformative ban.

The ban comes into effect this World Environment Day whose theme is biodiversity and comes at a time when it has never been more urgent to protect nature from the catastrophic decay and deterioration that has been caused by human action.

Single use plastics and the resulting pollution is one of the biggest catastrophes of our generation and a major threat to biodiversity, which has escalated exponentially over the last few decades, killing our freshwater and marine ecosystems and now negatively impacts the health of communities.  It is estimated there may now be around 5 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the ocean, making up 60-90% of marine debris.

This new ban is the latest in Kenya’s wide-ranging measures to protect the environment through limiting pollution, further cementing its leadership in environmental conservation and protection.


For more information, please contact:

Davina Ngei: [email protected]

The Beethoven Pastoral Project - an Artists Declaration

An invitation to the online Beethoven Pastoral Project

When: June 5th, 2020 at 17:00 CEST


The Beethoven Pastoral Project, an initiative by the BTHVN2020, with UN Climate Change, ICLEI and Earth Day, is dedicated to promoting action on climate change and the environment in this 250th anniversary year of Beethoven's birth. We invite artists, musicians and creatives from around the world to join in a call for a world where humanity can again live in harmony with Nature.  Lend your support to an Artists Declaration that aims to promote and to inspire stronger action to safeguard our planet, and commits those who sign to be part of the solution.  Given your personal engagement for the arts and society we would be humbled to have your testimonial in this initiative.

The Artists Declaration will be found and “signed” at

The Declaration will be formally launched during a livestream Pastoral event on 5 June 2020. The Declaration will be presented to the world’s governments, through Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, later this year.

Help us to bring the voices of the creative world to the forefront. Sign the Declaration, help us to encourage others to do so, and enjoy the livestream event on 5 June.

The livestream event will be produced and directed by Deutsche Welle.  It will encompass interviews, video clips, musical performances, the premiere of a movie by Deutsche Welle, and more.

Find more information here: https://pastoralproject.org/

Virtual New York City Nature Experiences

NYC Go Virtual Guide

The Government of New York City has curated nature-oriented virtual experiences.

There are still plenty of ways to explore the five boroughs while socially distancing. NYC Government has rounded up online resources from museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theatres and other venues so that you can experience the best of New York City virtually. Read on their website for hundreds of ways to connect with your favourite NYC attractions—or discover new ones—from home or wherever you are right now.

Find more info here: https://www.nycgo.com/virtual-nyc/?collections=outdoors-recreation

Unlocking Human Potential for Biodiversity - Live from Montréal 5 June 2020


How can we better understand human diversity in order to preserve biodiversity, get closer to nature and orient our future actions?

This question will be addressed at first by Valérie Plante, Mayor of the City of Montréal, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Barbara Hendrie, Director for North America, United Nations Environment Program, Richard Morgan, Executive Director, Commission for Environmental Cooperationand Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of Space for Life.

Tune in from 9:00AM – 12:00PM (Montreal) on 5 June 2020.

For more info: https://espacepourlavie.ca/en/unlocking-human-potential-biodiversity

GreenThumb Community Gardens webinars


NYC Parks GreenThumb is USA's largest urban garden program, with over 600 gardens and thousands of community gardeners throughout New York City. To support World Environment Day, they will be hosting a series of online events from June 1-7 including 2 webinars.

Webinar: The NYC EcoFlora Project and Community Gardens
When: Wednesday 3 June 2020; 12:00-13:00 EST
Event link here.

Virtual Panel: Climate Resilience in Community Gardens
When: Friday 5 June 2020; 13:00-14:00 EST
Event link here.

UNESCO video series promotes Ocean Literacy


Did you know that there is only one global ocean? Historically, there are four named ocean basins: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic, but the Ocean is still a single body covering 140 million square miles, some 72 per cent of the earth's surface.

To promote Ocean Literacy in the build up to World Oceans Day on 08 June, UNESCO has launched a video series.

Watch here:

Connect4Climate & World Bank's Immersive Biodiversity Story is online


What: Connect4Climate and the World Bank are excited to share an immersive story out of Ethiopia showing that investment in nature is investment in people.
The story can be found here.

Youtube link is here.

Launch of Living Chapel - live from Rome 5 June 2020


What: The launch of the Living Chapel, this World Environment Day is hosted by the Rome Botanical Garden, and will be attended by the UN programs and organisations that are partners with the Living Chapel: FAO, Mountain Partnership, Faith for Earth of UNEP and UNRIC. The Living Chapel is inspired by the UN 2030 Agenda and the Pope Francis Laudato si’ encyclical, with its message to care for nature by inspiring and educating all people to actively protect our common home.

When: 5 June 2020, 17:00 -18.30 CEST

The meeting will be broadcast virtually with only a few speakers physically present at the Botanical Garden. The online audience will include youth, academics, environmental activists, UN colleagues, diplomats, Mountain Partnership members and media.
To watch the proceeding please watch on Facebook here.

For more info: https://livingchapel.com/

#ClimateQuiz - The biodiversity crossword will be out on 1 June 2020


Looking to test your climate knowledge? We've got just the ticket: Connect4Climate have devised a series of climate-themed crossword puzzles. The puzzles will come out once a month and can be found here: https://www.connect4climate.org/article/introducing-connect4climate-crossword-puzzle

These crosswords are a part of the #ClimateQuiz series that are fun and challenging in equal measure. The June puzzle will have a biodiversity theme in support of UNEP's World Environment Day.

Connect4Climate is a global partnership program launched by the World Bank Group and the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, that takes on climate change by supporting ambitious leadership, promoting transformative solutions and empowering collective action.

TED talk by Kristine Tompkins -26 May 2020 at 11am ET, 15:00 UTC/GMT


What: TED.com will debut a talk by Kristine Tompkins on pulling the brakes on the commodity mentality that is destroying our planet. Instead, she proposes to restore nature and carry out rewilding on a large scale: actions essential for our collective survival which may not be as hard or impossible as you think. This is an unusual TED talk, as it was filmed at her dining room table due to the pandemic.

Watch the talk on TED.com on 26 May 2020 at 11 ET (Eastern Time, US) / 15:00 UTC/GMT

For more information about Kristine Tompkins and her work please go to www.tompkinsconservation.org