Every year on 5th of June, we celebrate World Environment Day to highlight the major issues the environment is facing and to encourage action for the protection of the environment worldwide. Over the years, World Environment Day day has raised awareness on urgent issues – from marine pollution and habitat loss, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. For this year celebrated tomorrow, the theme of World Environment Day 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration”, a global call to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.
UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the primary cause of species extinction worldwide, and it affects all types of ecosystems. For example, we lose over 4.7 million hectares of forest every year, and half of the world’s wetlands have already disappeared during the last century. In order to revert this alarming destruction rate, World Environment Day 2021 will focus on Ecosystem Restoration.
Ecosystem restoration means helping degraded or destroyed ecosystems to recover, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Thus, we can restore ecosystems in many ways, like actively planting trees, or removing pressures to allow the natural regeneration of overexploited ecosystems. Actions for restoration can also mean using ecosystems on land and in the oceans in ways that strengthen their natural resources and processes. Healthier ecosystems are essential for biodiversity, but also carry substantial benefits for people prosperity and well-being.
This year World Environment Day will also mark the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals. Led by the United Nations with the support of countries, partners, and people, this global mission focuses on preventing and reverting the loss of degradad natural ecosystems. The aim in the next 10 years is to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of the mountains to the depth of the sea.
On this World Environment Day take action and join #GenerationRestoration global movement, in which everyone can contribute to the mission. You can learn more about events and ways of participating by visiting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration website.
This year´s World Environment Day host: Pakistan
Every World Environment Day is hosted by a different country for its official celebrations, which provides a platform to discuss Sustainable Development Goals. This year, World Environment Day 2021 host is Pakistan, who will showcase the country’s own initiatives and its role in global efforts.
In 2014, the government of Pakistan started an ambitious afforestation project named ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ as a response to the challenge of global warming. The project added 350,000 hectares of trees both by planting and natural regeneration, reaching its billion tree goal in August 2017. Moreover, it surpassed its commitment to the Bonn Challenge, a global effort linked to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Now, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Government of Pakistan plans to expand and restore the country’s forests through a ‘10 Billion Tree Tsunami‘ spread over five years. The campaign aims to restore and enhance over 1 million hectares of forest and mangroves across the country, as well as planting trees in urban settings like public parks, schools, and green belts. With this, Pakistan wants to revive its Forest and Wildlife resources, improve the conservation of Protected Areas, encourage eco-tourism, community engagement, gender empowerment, and job creation through conservation.
Listed as one of the countries most affected by global warming, Pakistan is showing real leadership in efforts to restore the country’s forests and ecosystems.