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UNEP in Europe celebrates 70 years of UN

UNEP celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations with events bringing a green touch to Geneva and Brussels when iconic features in the cities were coloured blue for the occasion.


“Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on 24 October, marking the seventieth anniversary of the entering into force of the UN Charter.


In Geneva, more than 19 000 visitors attended the Open Days taking place at the Palais des Nations and could learn, play games about and taste the theme of sustainability as well as see a one-wheel Segway in action thanks to UNEP’s presence.


Awareness was raised on how pesticides are controlled, how the trade in endangered species is being fought, what a Green Economy is and how the environment is protected in countries following conflict at the stand. Visitors could even play a game on actions we can take for our planet made out of recycled materials.


Children also flocked to visit activities organised by UNEP in the children’s area, where younger ones drew natural landscapes, made their own animal puppets and saw a puppet show on the environment featuring ‘Ozzy Ozone,’ a UNEP children’s character.


The previous evening, Geneva’s iconic ‘jet d’eau’ fountain and other features around the city were coloured in the same blue as on the UN flag.


UN village in Brussels


Brussels’ historical town hall was meanwhile coloured blue the evening before the city’s main square – the Grand Place - hosted a range of activities focused on raising awareness of achievements already made, the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and upcoming COP climate talks.


Over 4000 people visited a ‘UN village’ and could show the world their favourite SDG(s) in a Twitter frame made by UNEP for the occasion. An old electro game was also recycled and adapted into a game on the SDGs, where visitors were asked to connect icons to the goals and say discuss what they could imply for them for example.


Visitors at UNEP’s stand furthermore learnt about the importance of the upcoming COP talks and what they can do to help counter climate change during the event, which was covered by international media such as TV5Monde.


Outreach in Bosnia


Bosnia and Herzegovina also provided a face and voice to the new SDGs on the eve of the UN’s anniversary. A reception organised by the entire UN Country Team in the country was held for ambassadors, ministers, civil society organizations and others in order to promote the new global development agenda.


There, children from across Bosnia each presented one of the SDGs while dressed in t-shirts depicting the global objectives. SDG 17 on forming partnerships to achieve the goals was furthermore presented to guests at the country’s Parliamentary Assembly.


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