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Photo exhibit at UN headquarters in New York shows beauty and complexity of global biological diversity

Photo exhibited at UN  headquarters in New York



The German Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and GEO Magazine in cooperation with UNDP and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nation and the Equator Initiative have been organizing a photo exhibition on global biological diversity and activities for its conservation. More than 100 images of 33 renowned photographers have been displayed in the UN-headquarters visitor's lobby in New York from 22 April to 08 June 2004.

The exhibition was inaugurated on the occasion of this year's "UN-Earth Day" on 22nd April 2004 . The opening addresses were deliverd by Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office Kerstin Müller, Ruth Eichhorn (Photography Director at GEO Germany), Zéphirin Diabré (Associate Administrator and Under-Secretary-General of UNDP) and Alvaro Umaña (Principal Advisor and Leader UNDP Energy and Environment Group). Roughly 260 international guests participated in the opening event and the reception, among them numerous representatives of the press and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN as well as delegates of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

The exhibition which is displayed in the visitor's lobby of the UN headquarters consists of two parts. "Focus on Nature" is composed of photos by GEO-Magazine photographers and shows the diversity and the beauty of our environment and highlights the complex relationship between man and bioshpere. The exhibit's main focus is on developing countries which are most severly affected by poverty and the loss of biodiverity. But the photos also take a look at the remarkable capacities of local communities to tackle existing problems. Some of them show projets under which the local population generates new sources of income through sustainable use of natural resources and thereby contributes to global environmental conservation despite difficult economic conditions. The project activities are either supported by GTZ on behalf of BMZ or by NGOs and initiatives such as "GEO protects the rain forest".

Opening event on April 22, 2004
Opening by Kerstin Müller, Alvaro Umaña and Zéphirin Diabré
UN-Headquarter New York
Kerstin Müller, Charles McNeill
Kerstin Müller, Zéphirin Diabré
Kerstin Müller, Ruth Eichhorn,  Zéphirin Diabré

The photos of the exhibit "People-Forests-Development" take the visitors on a visual foray though the tropical forests of Central and West Africa with their giant trees, blooming canopies, and exotic animal species like gorilla and elephants.

Hunting pygmiesThe impressive photos also show the people living in and from the forests like the pygmies who -from time immemorial- have been fishing, hunting and collecting medical plants in this environment. The visitor's attention is also drawn to the danger to these habitats like excessive logging, poaching, and slashing and burning as well as to activities of local communities and the GTZ to conserve and sustainably use the rain forests and their unique biodiversity.

[Map: Areas of endangered rainforests from western to central Africa]

The photos were also shown in the German Federal Press Office and on the World Parks Congress in Durban/South Africa and in the Gruner + Jahr publishing house at Hamburg and have already attracted more that 30.000 visitors. Besides its impressive images the exhibit also offers a broad range of information material to the visitors.

The UN-headquarters are an ideal location to address the issue of biological diversity among international decision-makers and the broad public as it is the place of work of 3.600 UN staff members from 161 nations and the venue of more than 100 international conferences annually. Moreover the visitors lobby is vistited by numerous international tourists and American grades of school coming here to acquaint themselves with the work of the United Nations. From April 22 to May 19th 2004 130.000 guests came to the UN headquarters visitor's lobby.

Speeches and press release

Opening Remarks by Zéphirin Diabré, UNDP Associate Administrator and UnderSecretary General

Opening Remarks by Kerstin Müller, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office

Opening Remarks by Ruth Eichhorn, GEO-Magazin Germany

Opening Remarks by Alvaro Umaña, Principal Advisor of UNDP Energy and Environment Group

Press release on the exhibit's inauguration (102 KB)

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