Environment Tips / Ecosystem : Global movement to restore damaged ecosystems

Insight Online News

Nairobi, June 6 : Individuals, communities, civil society, businesses and governments around the world marked World Environment Day — with official celebrations held in Islamabad — by making commitments and calling for action to restore millions of hectares of ecosystems all around the world for the benefit of people and nature.

Hosted by Pakistan in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), this year’s World Environment Day served as the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

Led by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, speakers at the event on Saturday, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, China’s President Xi Jinping, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, heads of UN agencies and government ministers, stressed the importance of restoration in global efforts to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development.

“The degradation of the natural world is already undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people — or 40 per cent of humanity. Luckily, the earth is resilient. But she needs our help. We still have time to reverse the damage we have done,” the UN Secretary-General said.

“That is why, on this World Environment Day, we are launching the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This global movement will bring together governments, businesses, civil society and private citizens in an unprecedented effort to heal the earth.

“By restoring ecosystems, we can drive a transformation that will contribute to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The UN Decade aims to inspire and support governments, UN agencies, civil society, private sector companies, youth, women’s groups, indigenous peoples, farmers, local communities and individuals globally, to collaborate, develop and catalyse restoration initiatives across the world.

The Decade aims to mobilise hundreds of millions of people to restore nature and foster a global restoration culture in which restoration initiatives are scaled up across the planet.

“This is an opportunity for the world — these next 10 years, the world has to correct its course. It’s a clash between our greed on the one side and humanity on the other; there needs to be a balance between the two,” said Imran.

“When this balance is disturbed and consumerism, consumption and greed reach such a level, this always leads to disastrous consequences for humanity.”

“If we don’t care for our environment, and our ecosystems, it will have severe consequences for the humanity and we will have to pay a big price for this,” he added.

Pakistan has embarked on an ambitious effort to expand and restore its forests as part of its 10 billion-tree drive, recently planting its billionth tree; the country has also pledged to restore about one million hectares of degraded lands across the country by 2023 as part of the Bonn Challenge.

In addition, Pakistan recently launched its first green bond, seeking $500 million for environmentally friendly projects to enhance the clean energy share in the country’s power sector.

“Restoring ecosystems is a remarkable solution. It slows climate change, brings back lost biodiversity, creates productive land for agriculture, provides jobs and restores nature’s buffers against zoonotic diseases and pandemics,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“If we work hard in four areas — to get finance flows in tune with nature; to protect those that manage land; to make our cities green; and to restore the blue planet –we will heal nature and make everybody’s lives better,” she added.

Other major commitments announced around World Environment Day and the UN Decade include over 8 million pound in new funding from the UK to protect rare wildlife and vulnerable habitats across the globe; a 8.5 million Euro commitment by Dove and Conservation International to protect and restore 20,000 hectares of forest — the equivalent of three million trees — in North Sumatra, Indonesia; a pledge by E.ON, Europe’s largest operator of energy distribution networks, to create biotopes under 13,000 kilometers of high-voltage lines in forest areas; three million Euro from Finland to support the launch of, and regional action in developing countries under the UN Decade, and an announcement by Germany that it would be the first country to provide funding — 14 million Euro — to the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Away from Islamabad, World Environment Day events and initiatives took place across the world, including a virtual concert featuring Patti Smith, the Dave Matthews Band, Michael Stipe and other international artists; the world premiere of Is It Too Much to Ask, a song by DJ Don Diablo for #GenerationRestoration; a virtual Ecosystem Restoration Classroom, a new initiative to take young South African learners — and others — on a journey across three unique landscapes threatened by human development; fireside chats with youth organisations and more.

IANS / AGENCY

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