• World Environment Day to highlight campaigns to fight desertification and restore degraded areas of land

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World Environment Day to highlight campaigns to fight desertification and restore degraded areas of land

May 20 2024

Saudi Arabia, who will host the upcoming World Environment Day (WED), and the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) have introduced campaigns to combat desertification, restore land and instigate strategies to handle the effects of drought in the leaqd up to the WED celebrations on 5 June in Riyadh.  

At the campaign’s inauguration in Riyadh, Elizabeth Mrema, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP stated, ”Now is the time to act on commitments to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation. We are the first generation to now fully understand the immense threats to the land – and might be the last one with a chance to reverse the course of destruction. Our priority now must be on restoring ecosystems – on replanting our forests, on rewetting our marshes, on reviving our soils,”.

The new campaigns will promote leadership in restoring land and put the emphasis on Saudi’s commitments throughout the region to fight climate change by restoring huge swathes of arid and semi-arid lands to their original green and wild state. Saudi Arabia is heading up the G20 Global Land Initiative, which was introduced during its G20 Presidency in 2020. The kingdom will also host the UN’s largest ever conference on land and drought in Riyadh between 2nd – 13th December at the 16th session of the Convention’s Conference of the Parties (COP16).

In 2019, the United Nations’ General Assembly agreed to a resolution declaring 2021–2030 the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This WED there are plans to back a further acceleration to these commitments, with Saudi’s campaign connecting with the COP-16 theme, ‘Our Land, Our Future’, and the ‘We are Generation Restoration’ slogan of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Further afield, other nations have pledged to regenerate one billion hectares of land, which equates to an area approximately the size of China, Japan and the Korean peninsula combined, by protecting 30% of land and sea for nature while attempting to restore 30% of Earth’s degraded ecosystems. Supporting the 2030 agenda of pushing the planet onto a path of sustainability and resilience and working together to protect both people and the planet they live on, WED 2024 will help to build momentum for climate action by raising support for crucial ecosystems restoration work. 


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