Antonio Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, says if the global community restores the ecosystem by cleaning up rivers and “regreening cities”, it can generate resources worth $7 trillion yearly.
Delivering a speech on Saturday to commemorate World Environment Day, Guterres said restoring the ecosystem not only protects the environment but also creates jobs and drives economic growth.
Guterres said this year’s World Environment Day marks the start of a new decade when humans should stop undermining the environment and make peace with nature.
“We need to replant and protect the forests. We need to clean up our rivers and seas and we need to regreen our cities. Accomplishing these things would not only safeguard the planet’s resources, but it would also create millions of new jobs by 2030, generate resources of over 7 trillion US dollars every year, and help eliminate poverty and hunger,” he said.
“The next 10 years are our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution, and end species loss. Let today be the start of a new decade in which we finally make peace with nature and secure a better future for all.”
He said the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will bring together governments, civil society organisations, businesses, and relevant stakeholders in a concerted effort to heal the earth and drive transformation while contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
“We are ravaging the very ecosystems that provide us with the food, water, and resources we need to survive. The earth is resilient, but she needs our help. By restoring ecosystems, we can reverse the damage we have done and help our planet heal,” he added.
In her remarks, Inger Anderson, under-secretary-general of the United Nations, said many of the challenges the world is facing stem from the degradation of soils, lands, water bodies, forests, and oceans.
She said deliberate steps need to be taken to improve human health and the health of the natural world, so that “people and nature can heal together”.