Saturday, June 5, 2021 9:53 am
By Cecilia Ologunagba
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has launched “an unprecedented effort to heal the Earth” amidst the triple environmental threat of biodiversity loss, climate disruption and escalating pollution.
Guterres launched the action on Friday to commemorate World Environment Day (WED) observed annually on June 5, to create awareness and actions for the protection of the environment.
Kicking off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, he said the planet was rapidly reaching a “point of no return” cutting down forests, polluting rivers and oceans and ploughing grasslands into oblivion.
The UN chief warned in his message for WED that we were ravaging the very ecosystems that underpin our societies.
”Our degradation of the natural world is destroying the very food, water and resources needed to survive and already undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people or 40 per cent of humanity.
”But fortunately, the Earth is resilient and we still have time to reverse the damage we have done,” he said.
By restoring ecosystems, he said that we could drive a transformation that would contribute to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Accomplishing these things will not only safeguard the planet’s resources. It will create millions of new jobs by 2030, generate returns of over seven trillion dollars every year and help eliminate poverty and hunger”, he said.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Guterres as describing the decade of restoration as “a global call to action” that would draw together “political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration”.
He pointed out that the next 10 years were “our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss”.
“Everyone can contribute. So, let today be the start of a new decade – one in which we finally make peace with nature and secure a better future for all,” the UN Secretary-General said.