Last Friday, the United Nations launched the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a program that aims to restore ecosystems by preventing, halting and reversing degradation. The virtual event brought together divergent voices, including heads of governments, religious leaders, artists and activists from around the world. The program is geared toward helping the world recover from what the UN Secretary-General António Guterres termed as a “triple environmental emergency.”
While addressing the attendees of the virtual launch, the Secretary-General said that humanity is currently facing a “triple environmental emergency” of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and escalating pollution.
“We are reaching the point of no return for the planet,” Guterres said. “We are ravaging the very ecosystems that underpin our societies, and in doing so, we risk depriving ourselves of the food, water and resources we need to survive.”
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will run through 2030 under the co-leadership of the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Through the program, the two organizations will lead the world to re-imagine, recreate and restore ecosystems.
Recent research by UN agency partners has revealed that in order to counter climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises, the world must triple its investments in nature-based solutions by 2030. In other words, governments, institutions and individuals must work three times harder than they currently are to counter the climate crisis.
“Businesses and the financial sector must reform operations and financial flows so that they restore and not destroy the natural world,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director. “Re-think your choices, demand deforestation-free products, vote for sustainability in the polling booth, and raise your voice loud and clear.”
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu noted while addressing the online gala that about 40% of the global population is stressed by the climate crisis.
“Business as usual is not an option,” the director-general said. “We need to prevent this and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, including farmland and forests, our rivers and oceans.”
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