The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a new report on the restoration of lost and damaged ecosystems, as one of the activities in the preparation of the World Environment Day (WED) which will be celebrated in Rwanda.
According to the report titled ‘Dead Planet, Living Planet: Biodiversity and Ecosystems Restoration for sustainable Development’ restoring of the world ecosystems such as forests, fresh waters, mangroves and wetlands can trigger multi-million dollar returns, generate jobs and combat poverty.
The report also draws on thousands of ecosystem restoration projects worldwide and showcases over 30 initiatives that are transforming the lives of communities and countries across the globe.
It underlines that far from being a tax on growth and development, many environmental investments in degraded nature-based assets, can generate substantial and multiple returns.
Addressing the press at the launch, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: “The ecological infrastructure of the planet is generating services to humanity worth, by estimates over $70 trillion a year, perhaps substantially more.”
He added that in the past, the services had been invisible or near invisible in national and international accounts and said that this should and must change.
According to Steiner, the report is aimed at bringing two fundamental messages to governments, communities and citizens on WED, that mismanagement of natural and nature-based assets is undercutting development on a scale that dwarfs the recent economic crisis.
The second message, he said, is that well-planned investments and re-investments in the restoration of these vast, natural and nature-based utilities not only have a high rate of return, but central if not fundamental, to sustainability in the world of rising aspirations, populations, incomes, and demands on the earth’s natural resources.
Addressing journalists, Environment Minister Stanislas Kamanzi said that Rwanda is in the right direction as far as the restoration of ecosystems is concerned.
Kamanzi underlined that despite the many problems that country went through and the big population it has that exerts pressure on the environment, much has been achieved towards ecosystems restoration.
He urged Rwandans to embrace this day and take more steps by thinking more about what they ought to gain from protecting the environment for a better future of the generations to come.
The World Environment Day which has been combined with (Kwita Izina) Gorilla naming ceremony will be marked on Saturday in Kinigi, Northern Province.