World Environment Day 2020

UNCCD ES Ibrahim Thiaw

Message from the UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw

Dear friends! This year's World Environment Day finds us all struggling to overcome the disastrous effects of COVID-19. Yet, together with the understanding that stressing out ecosystems and habitats creates a way in for the next crisis, we come to realize that the lasting solutions we need to rebuild our lives can only come from nature itself. 

Our environment gives us everything we need – good food, pure water and clean air. And, if you haven't realized it yet, it also gives us good health. However, these resources are not limitless. Our overconsumption and resource-intensive production have already altered three quarters of the planet's surface. By exhausting the land that nourishes us, we are destroying ourselves. The endless expansion of the agricultural frontier is directly linked to the loss of natural habitats and the spread of diseases from animals to humans. 

To recover and rebuild after the crisis, we need to enter into a new social contract for nature. It is a contract that engages individuals, civil society, states and the global community, outlines our responsibilities as the custodians of natural resources and recognizes that our future, our economic growth and the health of our environment are interdependent. 

We must understand that the choices we make as we emerge from this crisis will define our development path for decades ahead. The recovery can only be sustainable if it is green. Managing land wisely, changing the way we produce and consume food, enabling circular economies and creating eco-conscious jobs are the clear milestones on our way to restoring the balance between our prosperity and the planet's ability to support us.

In the wake of the pandemic, UNCCD will continue working with its 197 parties to build back better and create a more resilient future through preventing land degradation, harnessing the potential of sustainable land management and protecting fragile ecosystems. 

I wish you all good health. Happy World Environment Day!