World Environment Day 2016 Vienna

The Final event of the Green Week took place on Friday, 3 June 2016 at the Vienna International Centre (VIC), organized and hosted by the Austrian Ministry of the Environment, the European Commission in partnership with the European Sustainable Development Week initiative and UNEP Europe.

The event aimed to foster a dialogue between high-ranking policymakers and European Youth representatives about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference focused on exploring political processes, challenges and mechanisms on how young people can get more actively involved in bringing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to life.

Representatives from Youth organisations in Europe were invited to the event. They engaged in discussions on the SDGs, shared their expectations and discussed how they could actively get involved in their implementation. In addition, organizers of activities and interested experts were welcomed to share experiences and learn from each other. 

Conference speakers included Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Andrä Rupprechter, Austrian Minister of the Environment, Alan AtKisson, President of AtKisson Group and Founder of the 17 Goals Campaign, Brenda King, President of the Sustainable Development Observatory (SDO), European Economic and Social Committee, Harald Egerer, Head of UNEP Vienna, Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, Julia Rainer, Austrian UN Youth Delegate 2015 and Stephanie Beecroft, European Youth Forum.

Almost 160 registered participants attended the final event, representing a total of 22 countries, including 13 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom), 5 European Countries (Armenia, Kosovo, Serbia, Russian Federation and Ukraine), and 4 non-European countries (Brazil, Canada, USA and Iran).

One of the highlights of the conference was the Tree Planting Ceremony at the SDG Alley. The 17 trees reflecting the Austrian cultural heritage were planted within the premises of the United Nations in Vienna, for coming years and future generations as the first SDG forest of the world. The video message delivered by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon welcoming the meeting participants, and the UNEP video spot on “Agenda 2030 & Alpine Space” were remarkable at the conference. The song “We love the SDGs” performed by Alan AtKisson closed successfully the event, keeping the participants involved in a great atmosphere.

The plenary e-voting to prioritize conclusions and recommendations did not occurred as planned, due to a technical problem of the electronic voting system. The system could not be set up, which did not prevent the voting progress, done manually.    

The Austrian Ministry of the Environment hired two companies to cover the conference, they were in charge of the shooting and the web streaming of the meeting. Media representatives were invited to a photo opportunity during the   Tree Planting Ceremony. The co-organizers of the conference gave a wide cover of the conference, as per their websites:


After the conference the welcome video message from the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and the UNEP video spot on “Agenda 2030 & Alpine Space” were both launched at the Austrian Ministry of the Environment website.


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