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Brussels, 23 February 2012
Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik following the 12th UNEP Governing Council
The European Union will remain fully engaged in paving the way to a sustainable planet, said EU Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik while leading the EU delegation during the 12th special session of the UNEP Governing Council that took place in Nairobi on 20-22 February 2012. On the eve of the Rio +20 meeting, Commissioner Potočnik took the opportunity to offer his congratulations on UNEP’s 40th birthday and to urge all stakeholders to be prepared to achieve real decisive outcomes during the coming discussions on the making of a green economy and the launching of an institutional framework for sustainable environment.
"The Rio +20 conference can help push forward the sustainable development agenda and contribute to making a real difference in the lives of millions", said Commissioner Potočnik. "The outcome can translate into tangible and concrete benefits for all countries. Moving towards an inclusive green economy will be key for achieving success. But for this, we need the commitment of all parties and the will to move in the same direction. Nairobi is an important step towards Rio. The EU will continue to engage fully in the discussions that will take place in the coming days. As we celebrate UNEP's 40th anniversary, I invite everybody to stop and look back at how much we have achieved together. This proves that we can do a lot more and provide clear answers to the challenges of the future."
Also present in Nairobi was Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who participated in a number of bilateral meetings on the margins of the UNEP Governing Council, in particular with the current and future hosts of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (South Africa and Qatar) and with representatives of Least Developed Countries, and Mercedes Bresso, president of the Committee of the Regions, who drew attention to the sustainable development projects adopted by many European cities and regions and voiced support for the European Union's position on the need for binding global commitments on environmental issues.