World Cleanup Day 2023, organized by the Estonian NGO ‘Let’s Do It World’ (LDIW), hosted its 6th annual event on Saturday, 16 September. Involving almost every country and territory in the world, participant numbers for this year are still being counted and will push the 6-year total closer to 100 million, consolidating LDIW’s position as the world’s single largest peacetime civic action movement.
Coinciding with the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and Climate Week, LDIW moved its principal Call and Media Center to Estonian House in New York, broadcasting the green wave live, as it spread from Fiji to Hawaii. Relocating to New York was possible thanks to support from the Estonian government, and came hot on the heels of UNGA debating the addition of World Cleanup Day to the official UN Calendar, a decision about which is imminent.
With UNGA taking place just a few blocks away from Estonian House, this facilitated involvement from representatives and Ambassadors, some of whom were interviewed in the studio, along with environmental experts and, of course, live updates from LDIW’s extensive network of country leaders.
Among the distinguished live guests were Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonian President 2016-2021), Maimunah Mohd Sharif (Executive Director of UN Habitat), Andrejs Pildegovičs (Latvian Ambassador to the US), and Dr. Marcel Dorsch (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change), as well as recorded messages of support from Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, and Alar Karis, incumbent President of Estonia.
On the significance of running World Cleanup Day 2023 from New York, Heidi Solba commented, “Awareness has increased significantly, with greater media interest, deeper governmental participation, and even people on the streets of New York offering support and encouragement. While we are making more progress on the awareness level, the UN’s support will truly make a difference to shifting attitudes to waste management, encouraging people to adjust behaviors and making the world cleaner for all.”
On 20 September, LDIW will host a special side-event to UNGA in Estonian House, which will include a high-level panel discussion on key related topics. Panelists will include; H.E. Alar Karis (President of Estonia), Maimunah Mohd Sharif (Executive Director of UN Habitat), Marina Ponti (Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign), Payam Mousavi (Lead Customer Engineer, Google), and Heidi Solba (LDIW President & Head of Global Network).
Since 2018, World Cleanup Day has engaged 197 countries and territories and over 71M participants, with this year’s total still to be added. Plans for 2024 will depend on UNGA’s decision on the resolution to add World Cleanup Day to the UN Calendar. Should that be approved, it is certain to magnify focus and boost participation towards the LDIW’s goal of 5% global engagement, as the movement continues its mission to address the global mismanaged waste crisis and strive for a waste-free world.
Let’s Do It World NGO is an accredited member of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). In July 2023, the UN Sustainable Development Goals Group acknowledged Let’s Do It World with its Mobilization award for organizing World Cleanup Day.