The District will be the center of this year’s World Environment Day to highlight the city’s sustainability efforts, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Wednesday.

At a press conference in Anacostia, Gray (D) and the leaders of the U.N. Environment Programme designated the District as the North American host city for World Environment Day on June 5.

In the weeks leading up to the event, residents, business owners, and community leaders will be expected to rally behind a theme of, “Unite for a Sustainable D.C.” to send a message to the world the District is serious about conservation.

“The District of Columbia was chosen as the North American host of WED 2012 not just because of the work that the city has already done for sustainability, but also because of the city’s plans for the future,” said Amy Fraenkel, Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for North America.

The Gray administration has launched a multi-year Sustainable DC program that the mayor hopes will position the city as a leader for clean energy, urban farming, green space and car-free transportation options.

After weeks of a community input and strategizing, the mayor plans to unveil a comprehensive Sustainable DC plan this spring in time for World Environment Day.