SADC Secretariat commemorated the World Environment Day on June 5, 2014 under the theme “Raise Your Voice and not the Sea Level”, in support of the United Nations designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Speaking on behalf of the SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Director Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Mrs Margaret Nyirenda pointed out that SADC region is home to two small Island States namely; Mauritius and Seychelles. “This theme also encourages a greater understanding of the importance of Small Island Developing States and of the urgency for all of us to help protect the islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities such as loss land and livelihoods resulting from the impacts of climate change”, she noted.
Mrs Nyirenda also called for the improvement of the behavior of SADC officials and everyone on day to day work in order to protect the environment adding that commemorating this Day, should bring all SADC Citizens to focus their thoughts on what should be their contribution as individuals, as member of communities and as part of institutions towards achieving both the national, regional and global causes. “Our efforts to spread awareness must be stepped up” she said.
“The World Environment Day is celebrated every year with a view to stimulate global awareness and to encourage people to become active participants in the sustainable and equitable development process so that all nations and peoples can enjoy a better quality of life”. “It is also intended to attract political attention to the challenges facing the world today as result of environmental degradation.” she added.
“It is my hope that we have not just celebrated this day as a fun day, but that it has enhanced our understanding of the role we need to play as individuals in ensuring environmental protection and conservation.” She concluded. The day started with a healthy walk from SADC Secretariat to Sir Seretse Khama Memorial Junior Secondary School where, Ms. Nyirenda planted a tree with the students on behalf of SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax. Some Gaborone-based Media also attended the event. The Commemoration Day ended with a lunch offered in the premises of the Secretariat. It was on June 5 1972, that the United Nations Conference on Human Environment launched the Environment Day in Stockholm, Sweden