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June 16, 2024
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World Environment Day: Antonio Guterres Calls for Restoration of Degraded Ecosystems

The climate as we know it may be in the rear-view mirror, and there is precious little time to change course before careening past a dangerous threshold for global warming.

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, has asked countries to deliver on their commitments to restore degraded ecosystems and land.

Guterres said this in a message to commemorate World Environment Day which is celebrated annually on June 5.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘land restoration, desertification and drought resilience’.

Guterres said land use is responsible for 11 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions heating up the planet.

He said countries must use their new national climate action plans to set out how they will halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.

The UN chief said “inaction is too costly”, adding that climate finance is needed to support sustainable development and vulnerable countries.

“Humanity depends on land. Yet, all over the world, a toxic cocktail of pollution, climate chaos, and biodiversity decimation are turning healthy lands into deserts, and thriving ecosystems into dead zones,” he said.

“They are annihilating forests and grasslands, and sapping the strength of land to support ecosystems, agriculture, and communities.

“That means crops failing, water sources vanishing, economies weakened, and communities endangered — with the poorest hit hardest.

“Sustainable development is suffering. And we are trapped in a deadly cycle. It’s time to break free.

“Countries must deliver on all their commitments to restore degraded ecosystems and land, and on the entire Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

“And we must drastically scale-up finance to support developing countries to adapt to violent weather, protect nature, and support sustainable development.

“Swift and effective action makes economic sense. Every dollar invested in ecosystem restoration creates up to thirty dollars in economic benefits.

“We are Generation Restoration. Together, let’s build a sustainable future for land, and for humanity.”

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