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02 Nov

Making Peace with Nature: UNEP Report

Making Peace with Nature: UNEP Report

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the ‘Making Peace with Nature’ report, ahead of the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5).

  • The Report explains how climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution add up to three self-inflicted planetary emergencies that are closely interconnected and put the well-being of current and future generations at unacceptable risk.

Key Points

  • Findings:
    • Planetary Emergencies:
      • Climate Change: Climate change is increasing the chances of the Arctic Ocean being ice-free in summer, further disrupting ocean circulation and Arctic ecosystems.
        • Climate change drives changes in wildfires and water stress and combines with biodiversity loss to degrade land and enhance drought in some regions.
      • Biodiversity Loss:
        • More than one million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species are increasingly at risk of extinction.
        • Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to climate change and are projected to decline to 10-30% of their former cover at 1.5°C of warming and to less than 1% at 2°C of warming, compromising food provision, tourism and coastal protection.
      • Pollution:
        • Every year, nine million people die prematurely due to pollution.
        • Up to 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other industrial wastes enter the world’s waters annually.
    • Widening Inequalities:
      • Human prosperity is strained by widening inequalities, whereby the burden of environmental decline weighs heaviest on the poor and vulnerable and looms even larger over today’s youth and future generations.
      • Inequity in economic growth has left 1.3 billion people poor.
    • Performance over SDGs:
      • Current and projected changes in climate, biodiversity loss and pollution make achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even more challenging.
      • The current mode of development degrades the Earth’s finite capacity to sustain human well-being.
    • Performance over Different Targets:
      • Society is failing to meet most of its commitments to limit environmental damage.
      • Society is not on course to achieve land degradation neutralityAichi Targets and targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • Suggestions:
    • Human knowledge, ingenuity, technology and cooperation can transform societies and economies and secure a sustainable future.
    • Given the interconnected nature of climate change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and air and water pollution, it is essential that these problems are tackled together.
    • Governments must scale up and accelerate action to meet the Paris Agreement goals and limit dangerous climate change.
    • Economic and financial systems can and must be transformed to lead and power the shift toward sustainability.
    • Moving to circular economic systems that reuse resources, reduce emissions and weed out the chemicals and toxins that are causing millions of premature deaths – all while creating jobs.

United Nations Environment Programme

  • About: The UNEP is a leading global environmental authority established on 5th June 1972.
  • Functions: It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
  • Major Reports: Emission Gap Report, Adaptation Gap Report, Global Environment Outlook, Frontiers, Invest into Healthy Planet.
  • Major Campaigns: Beat Pollution, UN75, World Environment Day, Wild for Life.
  • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya.

United Nations Environment Assembly

  • The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the governing body of the UN Environment Programme.
  • It is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment.
  • It meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law.
  • It was created in June 2012, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also referred to as RIO+20.

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