International Day for Biological Diversity 2011 - Forest Biodiversity


United Nations Environment Programme

WED Legacy: Gorilla Diaries

In 2010, the eyes of the world were on Rwanda as it hosted World Environment Day (WED). As part of the event, the WED Global Community was given three wild baby gorillas to name. In this 3-part diary, led by the park ‘s capable guides, we trek to their jungle home and meet these special babies.

In Rwandan culture, giving names to human babies, in a ceremonial style, is a long standing tradition. Called Kwita Izina, the people of Rwanda also bestow this tradition on the mountain gorillas, a testament to their beloved status.

On the practical side, names also ease the identification of individuals in habituated groups, which helps with research, medical care and interest from gorilla enthusiasts. Each June in Volcanoes National Park, thousands of people from every walk of life come together to take part in the ceremony.

Baby Legacy from UNEP on Vimeo.

Baby Waka Waka from UNEP on Vimeo.

Baby Zoya from UNEP on Vimeo.

As WED host nation for 2011, India is the focus of worldwide celebrations, with major events in New Delhi and Bangalore. The World 10K Race on Sunday saw some 25,000 runners pound the pavements of Bangalore in support of WED. Organizers and participants also inaugurated a ‘World 10K Forest’, to which more trees will be added at future races.

UNEP also released the Forests in a Green Economy report on Sunday. In the face of continuing deforestation (currently estimated at 5.2 million hectares worldwide per year), the report outlines how increased public and private investment in forest management and forest resources can boost employment, drastically reduce deforestation and help tackle climate change.

Beyond India, WED celebrations took shape in cities, towns, villages and communities across the world. In Nairobi, besides the launch of the Forests in a Green Economy report, UN staff were invited to join the Step by Step group for a guided walk through the Karura Forest. The Karura Forest is a very beautiful forest, perfect for a leisurely morning walk in the spirit of this year's WED theme on forests. The walk kicked off from the KEEFT Centre at 9 am on Sunday morning.

Whether it’s switching from plastic bags to cloth bags, car-pooling with colleagues or organizing a tree-planting day, WED activities can be big, small, local, international, noisy, quiet...just as long as they’re green.

Visit to browse the A-Z of WED ideas, find your inspiration and tell the world what you’re doing. A comprehensive list of WED events in India and around the world can also be viewed on the site.