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Addis Ababa 1st March 2012 - March 3 is celebrated every year as Africa Environment Day. This emanated from 2000 Durban Summit of the then Organisation of African Unity (OUA) as a way of creating awareness about the environmental issues and the challenges facing the continent.
This year, the Government of the Republic of Chad has volunteered to host the celebrations in N’djamena. The Day will be commemorated in collaboration with the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The theme chosen for the celebrations is: Lake Chad: Our Common Heritage, Our Common Future. This theme highlights the continental importance of Lake Chad and the growing environmental challenges threatening its existence.
The celebration for this year is of a particular significance following the Decision of the AU January 2012 Summit that chose March 3 as Wangari Maathai Day. Thus, Africa Environment Day celebration will henceforth be commemorated in conjunction with remembering Prof. Wangari Maathai, an illustrious daughter of the African continent who spent her entire life promoting and protecting human well-being through her pioneering Green Belt Movement and grass-roots activism, inspiring people to promote sustainable development. Combining the celebrations of the Africa Environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day therefore, is a fitting tribute to the values she so steadfastly stood for.
Celebrating Wangari Maathai Day will not only help in immortalizing her immense contribution to Africa and the world at large in the areas of sound environmental management and sustainable development, but it will also serve as a permanent motivation and a beacon of hope for people around the world.
The African continent continues to face serious environmental and sustainable development challenges. The unfolding phenomena of climate change, biodiversity depletion, desertification, land degradation and irrational use of finite natural resources remain serious preoccupations for Africa as they pose real impediments to her sustainable development efforts.
The African Union calls for great mobilization to overcome the environmental challenges so as to ensure a better future for the Africa.
To make the Africa Environment Day truly a continental event with maximum impact in terms of awareness creation, the Commission encourages Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to undertake activities at national and regional levels to mark the Day.
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