NEW YORK, 5th June 2021: Amidst the triple environmental threat of biodiversity loss, climate disruption, and escalating pollution, Secretary-General António Guterres launched “an unprecedented effort to heal the Earth”, on the eve of World Environment Day.
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”.
“We are ravaging the very ecosystems that underpin our societies,” the UN chief warned in his message for the Day, being marked on Saturday.
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 added.
By restoring ecosystems, he said that “we can drive a transformation that will 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 $7 trillion dollars every year and help eliminate poverty and hunger.”
The UN chief described the decade of restoration as “a global call to action” that will draw together “political support, scientific research and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration.”
He pointed out that the next 10 years are “our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss.”
“Everyone can contribute,” said the Secretary-General. “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.”