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UN Environmental Days – June 2020

World Environment Day – 5 June 2020

5th June is designated by the United Nations as World Environment Day. Instituted in 1972 – when environment awareness was in its nascent stages and continues to be marked with more focus, and passion and certainly more concern.

It is a challenging time for the whole world – affected in some way or the other by the COVID 19. The bewilderment of the current times really should make human beings rethink their approach to the environment and their lifestyles that have negatively impacted the surroundings they live in.

Therefore, it becomes all the more essential to shine the light on World Environment Day 2020, because it is one of the biggest days of recognition for encouraging people worldwide to save and protect our environment from different environmental challenges the world is facing today

This year the theme of World Environment Day 2020 is “Celebrate Biodiversity”. “With 1 million species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.”

Colombia will host World Environment Day 2020 in partnership with Germany and will focus on biodiversity. Listed as one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries, Columbia sustains close to 10 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity. The country has several areas of high biological diversity in Andean ecosystems, with a significant variety of endemic species as also a part of the Amazon rainforest and the humid ecosystems.

UN Environment Programme, reports that with one million species of plants and animals facing extinction, there has never been a more critical time to focus on biodiversity. The year 2020 is critical for nations’ commitments to preserving and restoring biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the interconnectedness of nature and species and every living organism has a role to play in the maintenance of balance. The breakdown of eco systems adversely affects agricultural communities, ethnic communities and wipes away the diversity of the environment.

The SDGs and the 2030 Agenda is global and a shared agenda that requires a collective response to the targets and goals – specifically those related to the environment and gender.

It is a hopeful move that at the Conference of Parties 14 –Parties agreed that the process to develop the post-2020 global biodiversity framework would be gender-responsive, by systematically integrating a gender perspective and ensuring appropriate representation, particularly of women and girls, in the process.


World Oceans Day – 8 June 2020

The United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day every year on 8 June. Many countries have celebrated this special day since 1992. We have an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. Future generations will also depend on the ocean for their livelihoods!

Experts believe that “our oceans do not recognise political boundaries.” If we are going to bring about true change, we must reach across borders and work collectively with the international community.”

On World Oceans Day countries honour, help protect, and conserve the ocean. This year, the day will convene under the theme, ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’.

SDG14 and its targets are devoted to life below water and marine life, the pollution and the acidification of oceans and more.

The UN and its partners urge nations to create ongoing awareness to sustain the momentum of urgency. Youth ambassadors have taken the mission forward and successfully participated in a Peace Boat Programme Initiative. First launched at the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017, The programme highlights the stories and experiences of young people at the forefront of injustices brought about by climate change, amplifying their voices calling for action. Youth leaders from Small Island Developing States on the front line of climate change and marine degradation travel onboard Peace Boat’s ship, engaging in capacity building and bringing their message to citizens and government representatives through the voyage.

Meanwhile – though not enough data is available – on gender and the oceans, the importance of gender equality, in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources is increasingly being recognized.


Desertification and Drought Day – 17 June 2020

Desertification and Drought Day, a United Nations observance day held on 17 June each year, will in 2020 focus on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption. Korea has organised an online event that will focus on links between consumption and land.

The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem -solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.

Experts have highlighted the slogan, “Food. Feed. Fibre.” which seeks to educate on how to reduce personal impact. To quote the Korean Forest Service “Food. Feed. Fibre” are essential to our daily life, and most of them are originated from the ground.

Startling data and figures should jolt changes in consumer and corporate behaviour, and the adoption of more efficient planning and sustainable practices

  • Today, more than two billion hectares of previously productive land is degraded.
  • Over 70 per cent of natural ecosystems have been transformed. By 2050, this could hit 90 per cent.
  • By 2030, food production will require an additional 300 million hectares of land.

The global community has long recognised that land degradation/desertification is a major economic, social and environmental problem of concern to many countries in all regions of the world. Country parties have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 a national target for action.

Naina Shah
APD Planet