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World Environment Day 2020 Statement by Anne Larigauderie

5 June 2020

On World Environment Day 2020, people everywhere are urged to turn their attention to nature.

This starts with recognizing the invaluable contributions of nature to people, in terms of material goods, ecosystem services such as those that help to regulate our climate, as well as appreciating nature’s intangible contributions, which enrich our lives.

Nature’s ability to sustain life as we know it, and to support our collective well-being, is declining at an alarming rate, however.

Species are going extinct at a rate that is tens to hundreds of times faster than the average historical rate over the last 10 million years – and humanity has significantly altered 75% of the Earth’s lands and two-thirds of the ocean area.

This jeopardizes our ability to meet basic human needs such as food and water security and weakens the global economy’s ability to enable development in a sustainable manner.

From the most vulnerable in our human family to the most privileged, the loss of biodiversity is already having alarming and yet underappreciated impacts on people around the world. Nearly half of all people globally are already impacted by the degradation of Earth’s lands.

On this World Environment Day, I encourage everyone to place greater priority on biodiversity in every aspect of our lives, to share this appreciation for nature with those around us, and to learn more about the evidence of our harmful impacts on nature and the options for positive action that we still have within our means.

Fostering governance and policies which are informed by objective evidence and are adaptive, integrative and inclusive can enable the kind of transformative change towards global sustainability that are needed to help people and nature thrive.

It is time to protect our planet, restore ecosystems and to build back better both #ForNature and #ForPeople.


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