5 June is World Environment Day, during which governments around the world, but also individual citizens, are called upon to reflect on the health of our planet.
This anniversary was established by the United Nations General Assembly 48 years ago to raise awareness of major environmental issues among governments and the public. It was in fact on December 15, 1972 when the Resolution 2994 was approved, stating: “The General Assembly designates 5 June as World Environment Day and urges Governments and the organizations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference”.
The theme of World Environment Day chosen for the 2020 edition is “Time for nature”, to remind us that the biodiversity crisis is real and is an urgent problem that requires immediate action. About one million living species (out of an estimated total of about 8.7 million) are threatened with extinction. The current rate of species extinction makes scientists believe that we are facing the sixth great mass extinction. Many ecosystems have been destroyed, degraded, fragmented and only a small percentage has remained intact. With the biodiversity crisis, the provision of eco-system services, from food to wood, from water to medicines, from climate regulation to control of soil erosion, from recreational to cultural values, is at risk. Food security, well-being and prosperity of human communities will be at risk unless action is taken to reverse the biodiversity crisis.