For information only – not an official document

31 May 2024

The Secretary-General

Message for World Environment Day

5 June 2024

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience.”

Humanity depends on land. Yet, all over the world, a toxic cocktail of pollution, climate chaos, and biodiversity decimation are turning healthy lands into deserts, and thriving ecosystems into dead zones. They are annihilating forests and grasslands, and sapping the strength of land to support ecosystems, agriculture, and communities.

That means crops failing, water sources vanishing, economies weakened, and communities endangered – with the poorest hit hardest. Sustainable development is suffering. And we are trapped in a deadly cycle – land use is responsible for eleven percent of the carbon dioxide emissions heating our planet. It’s time to break free.

Countries must deliver on all their commitments to restore degraded ecosystems and land, and on the entire Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.  They must use their new national climate action plans to set out how they will halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. And we must drastically scale-up finance to support developing countries to adapt to violent weather, protect nature, and support sustainable development.

Inaction is too costly. But swift and effective action makes economic sense. Every dollar invested in ecosystem restoration creates up to thirty dollars in economic benefits.

We are Generation Restoration. Together, let’s build a sustainable future for land, and for humanity.

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