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world environment day 2024 celebration and a hopeful aspiration for humanity
Environmental Features Environmental Science Rahman Mahfuz

World Environment Day 2024 celebration and a hopeful aspiration for humanity

World Environment Day 2024 celebration and a hopeful aspiration for humanity

Rahman Mahfuz, An Environmentalist, Environmental and Financial Topic writer, Engineer, and a social worker and Organizer

June 05, World Environment Day.

The U N Environment Programme(UNEP) has been observing 5th June every year as World Environment Day.

The decision to celebrate this day was taken by the U N Stockhlom Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, and a year later, the first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. This year marks the 51st anniversary of World Environment Day celebrations.

The human environment is all that is around us – living and non-living elements and the interaction with us and each other.

The environment evolves to maintain a balanced co-existence between all the components of the environment. The balance of the environment is disturbed when one or more elements expand out of control.

Over the past five decades, the day has become one of the largest global platforms for environmental advocacy. Millions of people around the world are creating awareness among the people of the world to protect the global environment on this day through online and personal activities, rallies, seminars, symposiums.

This year the theme of World Environment Day is “Land restoration, desertification and drought resilience”.

world environment day 2024 celebration and a hopeful aspiration for humanity

Land restoration is a major component of Ecosystem restoration. It is a key pillar of the UN’s 2021-2030 goal of protecting and restoring Ecosystems around the world. World Ecosystem Day is celebrated to protect and restore ecosystems worldwide in order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

This year the host country of the environment day celebration is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia was hosted World Environment Day 2024 due to its efforts to combat desertification in Arab lands and to prevent drought.

Desertification has made 40% of the world’s land unusable, directly affecting half of the world’s population and threatening nearly half of global GDP ($44 trillion) according to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The number and duration of droughts has increased by 29 percent since 2000, which could affect three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050.



The year 2024 is the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will be held from 2 to 13 December 2024 in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

Saudi Arabia is working nationally and regionally through the Saudi & Middle East Green Initiatives, and it is also working globally, as the Global Land Initiative

 was adopted at the G20 Summit held in Saudi Arabia on November 21-22, 2020.

Such action and leadership are essential to combat desertification in a world like Saudi Arabia. Because, we are currently facing an alarming intensity of 3 types of crises on this planet: the crisis of climate change, the crisis of nature and loss of biodiversity, the crisis of pollution and waste.

This crisis has put the world’s ecosystems under threat. Desertification is destroying billions of hectares of land, leaving food security for nearly half of the world’s population insecure and threatening half of global GDP. As a result, rural communities, small farmers and the very poor are affected the most.

But land reclamation can reverse the creeping tide of land erosion, drought and desertification. Every dollar invested in land restoration can restore up to US$30 in ecosystem services. Restoration enhances livelihoods, reduces poverty and builds resilience to extreme weather conditions.

The restoration of ecosystems not only amplifies the storage of carbon but also significantly decelerates the pace of climate change. Restoring just 15 percent of the land could prevent up to 60 percent of expected species extinctions by halting desertification of another 15 percent.

But we must also end drivers of land erosion, drought and desertification, such as climate change. Temperature records were broken in the world last year. Most people in the world have felt its effects. Rising temperatures are not just causing heatwaves

– rising temperatures are causing deadly and catastrophic increases in the incidence of storms, floods and droughts, making life miserable for mankind.

Land degradation directly affects people’s lives and livelihoods, threatens water and food security, and contributes to migration and displacement. We must take decisive action to achieve transformative change to address the climate and environmental crisis and its impact on human mobility.

Millions of people are displaced every year due to disasters. Disasters caused 26.4 million new internal displacements in 2023 (2024 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID)).

According to the World Bank, without early and coordinated climate and development action, more than 216 million people could become internal climate migrants by 2050. So, strong action is necessary for this.

Reclaiming land without addressing climate change would be giving in one hand and taking away in the other, so G20 countries must show leadership across the climate agenda – as Saudi Arabia has done and continues to do in land reclamation.

Now we can really see a glimmer of hope. Because the Rich countries have pledged to restore one billion hectares of land, which is larger than China in size. If they deliver on their promises and can show success, it will be a huge achievement.

Through World Environment Day and hosting the UN Convention to Combat Desertification next December, Saudi Arabia can build momentum and action towards these recovery goals, slow climate change, protect nature and increase livelihoods and food security for billions of people.

And it will be for the people of the whole world, for the welfare of mankind.

Sources: UN Environment Proramme, IMO.org

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