environment day

The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins

 

World Environment Day is commemorated on June 5 and the central theme of this year is to restore humanity’s relationship with nature. In addition, it marks an important milestone as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins.

 

In 2021, Pakistan is the host country for World Environment Day and has introduced its own restoration initiatives, such as the Tsunami of 10 billion trees, which will meet this reforestation target by 2023. Pakistan, which is one of the countries most at risk from the effects of climate change, has also launched an Ecosystem Restoration Fund in order to support solutions to climate change.

 

Nature can and should be part of the solution as the international push to reduce carbon emissions grows in all sectors of our economies. Restoring ecosystems can help protect and improve livelihoods, regulate disease, reduce the risk of natural disasters, and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

 

A recent report from the United Nations Environment Program found that the economic benefits of ecosystem restoration are promising. Between now and 2030, restoring 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate US $ 9 billion in ecosystem services and remove up to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The economic benefits are ten times greater than the cost of investment, while inaction is at least three times more expensive than restoring ecosystems.

 

Pandemic recovery plans offer a unique opportunity to chart a new path if investments are redirected towards a “restoration economy” capable of generating millions of green jobs.

 

For this Environment Day, people from all over the world are expected to showcase their efforts to restore the natural world, from tree planting in India to beach cleaning in Hong Kong to collective cleaning in Kenya.

 

Why is it important to restore ecosystems?

 

The vitality and diversity of our planet’s ecosystems are the foundation of human prosperity and well-being, as can be seen in forests, agricultural lands, freshwater environments, oceans, and coasts. However, humanity is degrading these precious resources in an alarming way.

 

The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration represents an opportunity to help change course in order to offer man and nature a sustainable future. It aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and every ocean. Thus, it can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction.

 

Ecosystem restoration is a large-scale global endeavor. It means repairing billions of hectares of land, an area larger than China or the United States, so that people have access to food, clean water and jobs.

 

It means achieving the preservation of plants and animals that are today on the brink of extinction, from the tops of the mountains to the depths of the sea. But it also includes many small actions that we can all do: plant trees, turn our cities green again, repopulate our gardens with wild species or clean the garbage from rivers and coasts. Achieving change is up to all of us.

 

By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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