Significance of the World Environment Day 2021
Today is June 5, World Environment Day. This day has been celebrated as Environment Day under the auspices of the United Nations every year since 1974 to increase environmental awareness among the world peoples.
On May 20, 1968, the Swedish government sent a letter to the United Nations expressing its deep concern about global nature and environmental pollution. The issue of global environmental protection was included in the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly which was held that year.
Accordingly, the UN Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm,
Sweden from June 5 to 16, 1972 with the consent of the member states to discuss in detail the protection of the global environment and find a solution. This conference is known as the Stockholm Conference, 1972, and is recognized as the first environmental conference in history.
In 1973, United Nations declared June 5 as World Environment Day, the first day of the conference was held in 1972 in Stockholm, and since 1974, the day has been being celebrating worldwide as World Environment Day.
Every year the day is celebrated in different countries/regions, with different themes. This year, the host country of World Environment Day is Pakistan and the theme is selected as REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.
Since the creation of the earth, we have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystem. We are damaging the ecosystem in such a way that every three seconds a forest equal to a football field is being lost. In the last century, we have destroyed half of our Wetlands.
About 50 percent of the world’s ocean Coral reefs are already lost, and if destroyed in this way, up to 90 percent of the coral reef could be lost by 2050.
Damage to the ecosystem means depriving the world of carbon sinks like forests and Peatlands. Over the past three years, global Greenhouse gas emissions have increased and the planet Earth has undergone catastrophic Climate change.
The world is seeing how catastrophic the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic can be as a result of ecosystem damage. It is initially thought that COVID-19 originated from Bats. Similarly, the Ebola virus has been transmitted from wild animals to humans.
Most of the pandemics that have occurred in the twentieth century have been transmitted from wild animals to humans. As the natural habitat of animals is shrunk through deforestation, ideal conditions are being created for wild animals to come in contact with humans and spread the virus among humans. Therefore, this year’s theme for World Environment Day is REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE with ecosystem restoration at the center.
Investing in the ecosystem means investing in our future
World Environment Day 2021, which has been chosen as the host country for this year’s official celebration with Pakistan, calls for urgent action to restore our damaged ecosystem.
We all depend on healthy ecosystems for our survival.
Restoring the ecosystem is a large-scale global initiative. This means repairing billions of hectares of land – providing people with food, clean water, and employment. This means bringing plants and animals back from the brink of extinction from the summit of the mountains to the depths of the sea.
However, it also includes many small actions: planting trees, greening our cities, rebuilding our gardens, or clearing garbage along rivers and coasts. Restoring the ecosystem carries considerable benefits for humans.
If the investment is made in restoring the ecosystem, it can be expected to increase at least seven to thirty times for each investment for our society. Restoring the ecosystem will create maximum employment for the rural population in rural areas.
Some countries are already investing in ecosystem recovery as part of their strategies back from COVID-19 and others are leaning towards their recovery to adapt to the changing climate.
Pakistan is celebrating several milestones for World Environment Day 2021: as part of its 10 billion tree planting, it has already completed one billion tree plantations, undertaken a massive voluntary pledge under the Bonn Challenge, Country’s first Green bond is floated for financing to protect a new marine area and funding for nature restoration. It is also expected to announce the launch of the Global Alliance for Ecosystem Restoration with other interested partner countries.
Pakistan is announcing as part of the main host country event at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad and is being chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan with the participation of world dignitaries, including Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s representatives, United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as senior officials from the governments of Germany and
Saudi Arabia is attending the event.
The event will also feature songs and videos from Pakistan’s Tsunami Program on Ten Billion Trees.
On the centenary of the father of nation Bangabandhu’s 100 years birth century, Bangladesh Juba League planted 10 million saplings last year under the ” 100 Years of Mujib Tree Planting Program”. Today, on World Environment Day, our Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the National Tree Planting Programme planted a number of the sapling in Ganabhaban.
In addition, on the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, the following events are being celebrated online from 4-5 June: –
- #GenerationRestoration Youth Assembly: Young People & Future of Multilateralism
- A Common Language to Accelerate Landscape Recovering
- Green Up to Cool Down: United in Action
- Sustainable Nitrogen Management for Ecosystem Restoration
- Towards Zero Pollution: Launch of the Global Assessment of Soil Pollution Report
- Unleashing the Underground Forest: A Catalyst to Achieving SDGs for the Benefit of Children
- Restoring the Human-Nature Bond – the Role of Education, Sciences and Culture
- Reimagine. Recreate. Restore. Virtual Launch Gala welcoming the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
- Restoring Aquaculture Ponds to Mangroves: So Much More Than Just Planting
- The Road from Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming – Restoration in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- Innovation and Ecopreneurship for #GenerationRestoration
- New Rangelands Data Platform and Atlas: Tools for the restoration of grasslands, shrublands, and savannahs
- TreeMapper – the Tool to Bring Science, Transparency and On-the-Ground Efforts together
- Key Concepts for Creating and Implementing a Shared Vision of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
- Virtual Celebration for Restoration and Recovery with UNEP North America
- Film screening of “Kiss the Ground” and post-film panel discussion with implementers and filmmakers
- Celebrating forest and landscape restoration: Success stories and lessons from Pakistan for the Asia-Pacific region
- The Rewilding Generation: How to Build Urban Biodiversity & Resilience
- Refugees and Restoration: What if we transformed refugee camps into regenerative camps?
- The Future of Our Planet: 2040 x UN Environment Programme
- 50 Years of Ecosystem Restoration in UNESCO Designated Sites and Networks
- The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: A Decade of United Action on Nature
- Tackling the Climate Crisis – Transitioning to Green Economy
What do we know?
- Every year the world is losing forests more than an area of Denmark, about 4.7 million hectares.
- About 80 percent of the world’s untreated waste is discharged into our oceans and rivers.
- Wetlands are drained of agricultural water, in the last 300 years about 87% of the world’s wetlands have become extinct, resulting in water-logging in agricultural fields.
So to sustain life on this planet, we need to start working to restore the world ecosystem from wherever it is.
References: UN Website & WIKIPEDIA