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40th World Environment Day

By United Nations
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Sunday, 5 June 2011, marks the 40th World Environment Day, an annual event organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote positive environmental action.

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For several years now, IOM has undertaken many pioneering projects in countries affected by environmental degradation and climate change. IOM has also contributed significantly through research and policy initiatives to conceptual thinking and planning on the nexus between environmental factors and migration.

Now, it is time to focus appropriate attention on establishing environmentally sustainable practices at IOM, that is, to make progress towards “Greening IOM,” a term devised by our Staff Association Committee which, together with the Administration, is working on this issue.

At Headquarters, we have established a Working Group to come up with a number of environmentally sustainable workplace practices, and to look at our many programmes to see where we might advance “green” solutions in our work. Shortly, you will receive practical guidance from the Working Group on “Greening IOM.” I would kindly ask that you consider measures that you might undertake in your respective Country Offices to support this good initiative.

Beyond any ethical obligations that we may have towards future generations -- as individuals and collectively as an institution -- we have an immediate obligation to our Member States, donors, and partners, who increasingly ask us to demonstrate the environmental sustainability of our services. “Greening IOM” is also in our self interest, as it stands to reason that ecologically sound work places and homes also result in economic savings for the Organization and for each of us.

On this 40th World Environment Day, let us each reflect on steps we might take to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into our daily work so that together we can travel this road towards Greening IOM,” for the benefit of today and tomorrow.