2021 Launch of UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
World Environment Day is the United Nations’ flagship day for promoting worldwide awareness of environmental issues. Over the years, it has grown to be the most important global platform for environmental public outreach and is widely known by several people across the globe.
World Environment Day is observed on 05th June each year. This year’s theme is “Ecosystem Restoration.” This year Pakistan was the global host of the Planet’s Environment Day. The event saw the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This year’s slogan is “Act now, restore nature and livelihoods.”
The UN Decade is supposed to build the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems to fight the climate crisis, prevent the loss of 1.000,000 species and enhance food security, water supply, and livelihoods.
What is Ecosystem Restoration?
We often talk about ecosystems and restoration but do we know what it implies and entails and what one can do for it locally? Ecosystems will be significant, like the oceans, small like a stream.
Ecosystem restoration is the “process of assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded, damaged or destroyed” (SER Primer, 2004); it also encompasses the conservation of the ecosystems that are fragile or still intact.
The UN Ecosystem restoration playbook published by UNEP to encourage revival on ecosystems everywhere focuses on seven ecosystems;
- Farmlands and grasslands
- Forests and trees
- Oceans and coasts
- Rivers and lakes
- Towns and cities
These ecosystems are degraded through pollution, high levels of infrastructure, mining, industrialization, overgrazing of grasslands, savannahs; overfishing of lakes, and deforestation among others.
Why restore these ecosystems?
At the moment, there is a high increase in the way ecosystems are degraded. The State of Finance for Nature report released by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) shows that investment in nature will be high to successfully tackle the link between climate, biodiversity, and land degradation.
Replanting should not just be a phrase. The use of native species can help given the catastrophic effects of a warming planet, such as the increased risk of forest fires, an outbreak of diseases, invasion of weed and pests, drought, among others. Most of the world’s population suffers from the continued degradation of ecosystems, for instance, by losing access to fertile soil or safe drinking water.
Simply put, our health depends on it; When biodiversity is lost, ecosystems become unstable, resulting in disease outbreaks, underdevelopment, and lack of protection from natural disasters.
According to Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP, “Biodiversity loss is already costing the global economy 10 percent of its output each year. Hence, if we do not sufficiently finance nature-based solutions, we will impact countries’ capacities to progress in other vital areas such as education, health, and employment. “If we do not save nature now, we will not be able to achieve sustainable development,” He added.
Perhaps you are asking yourself what I can do to be part of this restoration.
• To realize restoration at the projected scale, investments must be made in changing the way forests, farmlands, and oceans are overburdened. There is a need to eliminate pressures on the environment.
• Invest in education to coach the younger generation on ecosystems, their functions, and therefore, they must preserve them.
• Invest in research to enable the future generation to find solutions to impacts done on ecosystems.
• Invest in influencing people, organizations, businesses, and governments through celebrating success stories via blogs, newsletters, and social media, among others.
• You can join the legion of people interested in ecosystem restoration on social media platforms under #GenerationRestoration and share your contribution.
• Most importantly, you could fund restoration projects across the world
- Planting trees is one of the easiest and best ways of caring for the environment. As one Nobel Prize Winner says, “Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive. You haven’t done a thing. You are just talking”- Wangari Maathai
#The ecosystems across the world support life on our planet; hence it’s time for nature.
#Minor changes/actions can lead to positive changes.