ECOSOC chief Munir Akram urges global commitment to protect, restore ecosystems
Associated Press Of Pakistan
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 04 —The President of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, Friday called for an international commitment to ecosystem restoration so as to reverse the harm done to the planet and its forests, oceans, glaciers, rivers and lakes, thus creating a global community at peace with nature.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, which has created the most severe global health and economic crisis is itself a zoonotic disease, triggered by the loss of biodiversity and the closer interaction between man and various animal species,” he said during a meeting marking World Environment Day 2021.
“If current trends of biodiversity loss and degradation continue, it could increase the risk of further zoonotic disease and jeopardize global food security,” the ECOSOC chief said.
In the past 50 years, Ambassador Akram said, human population had doubled, global economy and trade grew manifold, driving up the demand for energy, raw materials and generating multiple forums of pollution with increasing negative impacts on nature.
Seventy-five percent of the planet’s land surface had been significantly altered; 66 percent of the ocean area was experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85 percent of wetlands had been lost, he said.
Approximately half the live coral cover had disappeared since the 1870s, with accelerating losses in recent decades due to climate change.
“It is high time to discard the economic models that are driving states to fight Nature – and each other,” the Pakistani envoy said, underscoring the need to transition to a new economic and social paradigm, which valued the preservation of Nature as much, if not more than gross natural product and per capita incomes.
“Even as we battle the pandemic, we have – at the UN – committed ourselves to ‘building back better’,” he said referring to the commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Ambassador Akram said,”It is a matter of pride that my country, Pakistan, is the host of this year’s Environment Day Celebration.
“As we have heard from Adviser on Environment to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan launched its Ecosystem Restoration Initiative in 2019. It has adopted a number of nature based solutions to strengthen biodiversity and nature including by initiatives such as the ‘billion tree Tsunami’.
“These are good examples that can and should be promoted globally,” he added.
“The foundation of a strong ecosystem can enhance the people’s livelihoods, support nutritious and resilient food systems, reverse desertification and freshwater degradation, protect our oceans and prevent the collapse of biodiversity,” the ECOSOC chief said.
“Without strong and resilient ecosystems, we will not be able to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) to end poverty and hunger and promote health, prosperity and human well-being.
In conclusion, Ambassador Akram called for a commitment to mobilize agreement and action at the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Ocean conferences and create a global community of nations at peace with nature, and with each other.