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WWF annual conference marks World Environment Day


Beijing, China/Gland, Switzerland – World leaders, corporate partners and conservationists join forces today in a renewed focus on solving some of the most urgent issues of our time — halting climate change and living within the natural resources of the planet.

As part of World Environment Day celebrations, more than 200 delegates to the WWF Annual Conference are attending a special forum sponsored by WWF and China’s State Forest Administration in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will give the opening address, where he is expected to challenge nations and citizens to change the way they think about and use energy to halt climate change and create a more fair and equitable society for all.

“The theme of our conference is Living Within One Planet, and never has the need to do so been greater,” said WWF International President Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

“If poor countries are to develop, rich countries maintain their prosperity, and emerging economies reach their full potential, then we must all embrace sustainable development. We simply cannot go on living beyond our natural means"

WWF’s Living Planet Report 2006, released last October, highlighted a rapid and continuing loss of biodiversity, showing an overall decline of about 30 per cent over a 33-year period. It also showed that humanity’s footprint – our impact upon the planet – tripled between 1961 and 2003. Climate changing emissions from fossil fuel use made up 48 per cent – almost half – of our footprint.

“If we are going to succeed in reducing our footprint, and reducing our loss of biodiversity, we must do more, and we must do it now" said WWF International Director General James Leape.

"We need to embark on ambitious new partnerships with governments, corporations, international institutions and other NGOs if we are going to get the world on a sustainable track.”

The Chinese government recognizes the place of conservation and has included the environment as a key part of its policy to build a “harmonious society”. Also, in its new National Action Plan on Climate Change, China has for the first time linked its existing plan to cut energy use by 20 per cent to cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change.

“This is a good step forward, but there is still more to be done in China and around the world,“ Leape added. ”The time has come for tough decisions, for bold action by governments and the private sector"

WWF regularly engages with both, working together to find solutions to problems that affect us all.

“Today we are announcing a collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company, which will focus on a new global initiative to conserve water resources,“ Leape said. ”By pledging to replace the water it uses, Coca-Cola is stepping up to protect its future and the planet’s.”

WWF’s annual conference will also be addressed by high-level figures from the Chinese government as well as corporate leaders including: E. Neville Isdell, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; Dr Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Vice-President of Knowledge Managements and Sustainable Development at the Asian Development Bank; Jorma Ollila, Chairman of Nokial; and Xu Xubo, CEO of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation.


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