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On International Day, UN highlights importance of collective action to protect ozone layer

16 September 2017 – Commemorating the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, senior United Nations officials, including Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the contributions of the Montreal Protocol – an international environment agreement on the elimination of ozone depleting substances.

“When scientists found that everyday products were destroying the fragile ozone layer, the world responded with the Montreal Protocol,” said Mr. Guterres in his message on the International Day.

“It rallies Governments, companies, doctors, scientists and citizens to reverse the damage [and] saves millions of people from skin cancer and cataracts each year.”

Also in his message, Mr. Guterres underscored the importance of Montreal Protocol to help combat poverty, address climate change, and protect the food chain. He also noted that new business opportunities have been created by the treaty, highlighting that it will save the global economy over $2 trillion by 2050.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which was agreed on this day in 1987.

As part of the celebrations, the Ozone Secretariat (which supports parties to the Protocol in implementing actions to protect the ozone layer) in partnership with Marvel, the company behind some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, is conducting the #OzoneHeroes campaign, highlighting the accomplishments of the Protocol and to increase public recognition of its success and impact.

In his own message marking the anniversary, Erik Solheim, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), applauded the global effort in support of the Protocol to protect the health and wellbeing of millions.

“This collective power is effective only because of individual actions of Ozone Heroes everywhere,” he underscored, calling on all stakeholders to mark the anniversary to support the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to stop hydrofluorocarbons from harming the planet.

“But to make that happen, we all need to be Ozone Heroes.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57533

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Much of the planet’s land severely degraded owing to increased consumption, UN warns

12 September 2017 – A new United Nations report warns that a third of the planet’s land is now severely degraded thanks to a doubling in the consumption of natural resources over the past 30 years.

Some 15 billion trees and 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost each year, according to the Global Land Outlook (GLO), launched today by the secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), at the meeting of States parties taking place in Ordos, China.

The GLO takes a critical look at financial and socio-economic values of land, and its impact on the poor. It marks the first in-depth analysis of land functions viewed from multiple lenses such economic growth and global trade patterns, highlighting the inextricable links between land, these sectors, and the people that can work to save it.

“Smallholder farmers, women and indigenous communities are the most vulnerable, given their reliance on land-based resources, compounded by their exclusion from wider infrastructure and economic development,” stated a news release issued by UNCCD.

Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, said at the launch that land degradation and drought are global challenges and intimately linked to most, if not all aspects of human security and well-being, particularly food security, employment and migration.

“As the ready supply of healthy and productive land dries up and the population grows, competition is intensifying, for land within countries and globally,” she pointed out.

More than 60 countries have established national land degradation baselines and set neutrality targets.

In an effort to slow land degradation and maintain productive soil, over 110 countries have joined a global campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of reaching land degradation neutrality by 2030 a national target for action.

Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa are among those that have committed to the national targets during the meeting in Ordos, a significant move for some of the world’s largest and most populous nations that could mean regaining resources, job security and resilience to climate change.

Ms. Barbut noted that with the human population growing an extra 200,000 people daily, and 20 countries declaring drought emergencies over the last 18 months, there are unforeseeable challenges.

“We were clearly not sufficiently prepared for these challenges,” she said. “Hundreds of millions of people go to bed desperate, hungry and thirsty as a result. Under business-as-usual scenarios, there is no future relief.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57503

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UN summit spotlights financial need to combat land degradation

6 September 2017 – The head of the United Nations body tasked with addressing desertification today stressed the importance of financing for national commitments to combat land degradation, as a global summit on the issue got underway in China.

“It would be intolerable for me that we have invested so much time and effort into getting to this point and you, dear Parties, did not see the real benefit,” said Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in her remarks to the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties.

“Much of the work needs to continue to be done by your own governments, of course,” she added, announcing the launch of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund – the first fund dedicated to rehabilitating degraded land. It will be managed by the private sector.

Ms. Barbut told participants at the meeting, being held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, that 110 countries have set voluntary national LDN targets to drive their national action plans.

Once an increasing amount of public and private financial resources is made available, she said, “the missing piece is now a pipeline of technically sound projects.”

Ms. Barbut also stressed the need to take decisions on issues that have not yet been dealt with, particularly droughts or sand dust storms, while also underscoring the special importance of making projects more gender sensitive and responsive to the heavy daily workload of rural women.

The 196 country Parties attending the session, which runs through 16 September, are expected to agree on a 12-year strategy to contain runaway land degradation that is threatening global food and water supply.

“The end goal is to protect our land, from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide us all with food, water and energy,” said Ms. Barbut.

The UNCCD is the only legally binding international agreement on land issues.

VIDEO: Land Degradation Neutral World. Credit: UNCCD

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57471

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