Brussels, 24 May 2006
Stepping up action to halt the rapid loss of biological diversity - the wealth of species, ecosystems and genes that constitute the web of life - is the focus of this year’s Green Week, the European Commission’s annual conference and exhibition event dedicated to the environment. Under the banner Biodiversity is Life!, Green Week 2006 will take place at the Charlemagne building from 30 May to 2 June, just ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June. More than 20 conferences and side events will bring together leading decision-makers and experts from Europe and around the world to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of biodiversity loss and how to reverse it. Up to 4000 participants are expected. A highlight of Green Week will be an awards ceremony on 1 June at which the winners of this year’s environment awards for businesses, local authorities and schools will be announced. The European Investment Bank and four other European multilateral development banks will use the occasion of Green Week to sign a declaration of environmental principles.
“Conserving biodiversity is absolutely vital for our well-being and for our economic development, yet too often inadequately planned development damages or destroys the ecosystems on which we all depend,” said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. “In Europe, 30-50% of our most notable groups of species – mammals, birds, fish, butterflies, etc - are now endangered. On Monday I presented an action plan which, if fully and rapidly implemented, will allow the EU to deliver on its commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe by 2010. It is timely that Green Week will bring together many of the key actors to focus attention on how we can accomplish this urgent task, both in Europe and globally.”
Now in its sixth year, Green Week provides a unique opportunity for exchange of experience and best practice between representatives from different levels of government, business, international institutions, non-governmental organisations and the scientific and academic communities. It is the biggest annual international event focusing on EU environment policies. Participation is free.
Commissioner Dimas will open the Green Week exhibition at 10.00 on 30 May and give the keynote address at the high-level opening conference session at 11.00. He will be joined at the opening session by Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, and Achim Steiner, Executive Director-designate of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Speakers at other Green Week sessions include:
The environmental awards ceremony will be at 19.30 on 1 June at Théâtre Saint-Michel.
The European Business Awards for the Environment reward companies for outstanding contributions to sustainable development in four areas: products, processes, management and international cooperation. This year’s 12 finalists come from Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
Budapest, Copenhagen and Koprivnica in Croatia are the three top nominees for the European Mobility Week Award, given to local authorities that promote good practices in sustainable urban transport. There will also be prizes for the best artwork and videos produced by schoolchildren in the Green Week School Competition. This year’s nominees are from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia and Turkey.
On the opening day of Green Week, five European multilateral development banks will sign a declaration of 'European Principles for the Environment' that they will apply when funding projects. The banks involved are the European Investment Bank, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, Council of Europe Development Bank, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation and Nordic Investment Bank . They will hold a press conference in the Charlemagne on 30 May at 09.30 (Room S4). The signing ceremony will take place at10.40 in the Berlaymont, with the participation of Commissioner Dimas.
Commissioner Dimas will give a press conference on the opening day at 13.45 in Charlemagne (Room S4). Daily media briefings are planned throughout the week.
As last year, the Commission intends to make Green Week 2006 'climate-neutral' by taking measures to offset the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the event (see IP/06/122).
Full Green Week programme: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/greenweek/conference.html