This text was originally published by UNEP
“This new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) lays out the gravity of Earth’s triple environmental emergencies – climate, biodiversity loss and pollution – through a unique synthesis of findings from major global assessments, including those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as well as UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook report, the UNEP International Resource Panel, and new findings on the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. The report flags the interlinkages between our environmental and development challenges and describes the roles of all parts of society in the transformations needed for a sustainable future.
In the report forward, António Guterres says “The urgent need to transform our relationship with nature risks being overlooked amid the huge suffering inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Saving precious lives and livelihoods is our top priority. But by exposing humanity’s vulnerability, the pandemic can also help make 2021 a turning point towards a more sustainable and inclusive world.
This report provides the bedrock for hope. By bringing together the latest scientific evidence showing the impacts and threats of the climate emergency, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution that kills millions of people every year, it makes clear that our war on nature has left the planet broken. But it also guides us to a safer place by providing a peace plan and a post-war rebuilding programme. By transforming how we view nature, we can recognize its true value. By reflecting this value in policies, plans and economic systems, we can channel investments into activities that restore nature and are rewarded for it. By recognizing nature as an indispensable ally, we can unleash human ingenuity in the service of sustainability and secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet.
Making peace with nature is the defining task of the coming decades. We must seize the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 crisis to accelerate change.””