World Environment Day 2021 was celebrated by individuals, groups, and governments around the world on June 5, with a central event held in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan – this year’s co-host along with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The United Nations established World Environment Day (WED) in 1974 to raise awareness of environmental issues. Though WED has not always enjoyed the recognition of Earth Day, the UN has built a foundation around the day that was evident at this year’s events.
“The degradation of the natural world is already undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people–or 40% of humanity,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Luckily, the Earth is resilient. But she needs our help. We still have time to reverse the damage we have done. That is why, on this World Environment Day, we are launching the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This global movement will bring together governments, businesses, civil society and private citizens in an unprecedented effort to heal the Earth. By restoring ecosystems, we can drive a transformation that will contribute to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “The world has to correct its course. It's a clash between our greed on the one side and humanity on the other; there needs to be a balance between the two. When this balance is disturbed and consumerism, consumption and greed reach such a level, this always leads to disastrous consequences for humanity.”
Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, said, “If we work hard in four areas–to get finance flows in tune with nature; to protect those that manage land; to make our cities green; and to restore the blue planet–we will heal nature and make everybody’s lives better.”
According to UNEP, pledged commitments in support of WED’s goals already include “over £8 million in new funding from the UK to protect rare wildlife; an 8.5 million euro commitment by Dove and Conservation International to protect and restore 20,000 hectares of forest in North Sumatra, Indonesia; and an announcement by Germany that it would be the first country to provide funding–€14 million–to the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Working together with the Chinese social media platform TikTok, UNEP asked platform users to share their ecosystem restoration actions using the #GenerationRestoration hashtag, with total video views already surpassing the 40 million mark.
This article is based on the following press release by UNEP: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/world-environment-day-boosts-growing-global-movement-restore-damaged