Monday, 21 June, 2021

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World Environment Day: Why land restoration is vital to biodiversity


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP)have called for the restoration of at least one billion degraded hectares of land by 2030.

They said this must also be matched by a similar commitment to the oceans, or else risk a growing threat to global food security.

This position is based on a study that said humans are already using 1.6 times the resources that nature can provide sustainably.

Launching the joint UN report, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen and FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu, urged all countries to commit to a “global restoration effort” to protect and promote natural spaces, as this will bring cleaner air and water, mitigate against extreme weather shocks, promote human health and biodiversity, whose benefits include improved plant pollination.

“This report presents the case for why we must all throw our weight behind a global restoration effort. Drawing on the latest scientific evidence, it sets out the crucial role played by ecosystems, from forests and farmland to rivers and oceans, and it charts the losses that result from a poor stewardship of the planet. Degradation is already affecting the well-being of an estimated 3.2 billion people – that is 40 percent of the world’s population. Every single year we lose ecosystem services worth more than 10 percent of our global economic output,” they added, stressing that “massive gains await us.”

UNEP/FAO

SOLUTION

The report said Countries need to deliver on their existing commitments to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land and make similar commitments for marine and coastal areas.

Ecosystem restoration is one of the most important ways of delivering nature-based solutions for food insecurity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity loss.