Celebrated every year on 5 June, the World Environment Day is a call for global awareness on taking action to protect the environment.
Run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the 2014 World Environment Day (WED) coincides with the International Year of Small Island Developing States, which was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness of and to draw attention to the critical issues facing the world's islands.
Also called Eco Day, the World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. Currently in its 42nd edition, the first Environment Day was celebrated in 1973.
WED 2014 theme
The theme of World Environment Day 2014 is: Small Islands and Climate Change.
The official slogan for this year's theme states: "Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level."
"Small Island Developing States face numerous challenges. For a significant number, their remoteness affects their ability to be part of the global supply chain, increases import costs especially for energy and limits their competitiveness in the tourist industry. Many are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change from devastating storms to the threat of sea level rise," UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.
The contribution of the world's small island nations, which collectively house over 63 million people, towards global emission of greenhouse gases is less than 1%.
According to the UN, these nations share a common understanding to achieve a sustainable future for all.
"I urge everyone to think about the plight of Small Island Developing States and to take inspiration from their efforts to address climate change, strengthen resilience and work for a sustainable future," Ki-moon said.
Complying with the theme, Barbados, a small Caribbean island nation, is the host country of the 2014 World Environment Day.
By hosting the annual event, the country aims "to be heard loudly and clearly, maintaining the place of Barbados firmly in the mainstream of the discourse and action on the future of Small Island Developing States," Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said.
India will host the World Environment Day 2015 under the theme, "One World, One Environment".
WED Observances around the world
Millions of individuals, community groups, schools and businesses from around the world take part in activities like clean-up campaigns, art exhibitions and tree-planting drives to celebrate World Environment Day.
According to UNEP, this year, the day will be observed with a host of similar activities.
In Macedonia, NGO OXO will use recycled materials to create outfits for a fashion show.
In Nepal, students have pledged to recycle all waste paper and purge plastic.
In Sri Lanka, Odel, a fashion brand and retailer from Colombo, has launched a campaign to clean beaches from plastic pollution and will hold an eco art festival with over 20 schools displaying crafts inspired by the World Environment Day.
In Kosovo, about 45,000 people are observing the day in a countrywide clean-up campaign.