A girl with a mask drawn with as a sky.

Secretary-General's Message

 

On this International Mother Earth Day, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic – the biggest test the world has faced since the Second World War.

We must work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequences.

The impact of the coronavirus is both immediate and dreadful.

But there is another, deep emergency -- the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis.

Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return.

We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption.

The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call.

We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.

I am therefore proposing six climate-related actions to shape the recovery and the work ahead.

First: as we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.

Second: where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.

Third: fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy, and make societies and people more resilient.

Fourth: public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate.

Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution.

Fifth: climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.

Sixth: we need to work together as an international community.

These six principles constitute an important guide to recovering better together.

Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries.

On this Earth Day, please join me in demanding a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike.

António Guterres

António Guterres

 

General Assembly President's Message

As we celebrate International Mother Earth Day we reaffirm our commitment to promote Harmony with Nature to achieve a just, sustainable, and prosperous society.

Today we are experiencing loss, suffering, and unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19. I extend my condolences to all who have lost loved ones. I wish those suffering from the virus and those on the frontlines strength. This global pandemic has affected everyone’s daily lives and has impressed upon us the fact that solidarity is our best and first line of defence.  

I hope that we will learn from this experience and that the spirit of solidarity will extend to all our endeavours.

Our experience with COVID19 demonstrates that we, humanity, are not separate from the world around us. In this Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals we are focused on nature. We must work together to protect our planet and ecosystems which affect every aspect of human life.

We must prioritise the sustainable use of planetary resources when pursuing industrial growth – notably in food production and agriculture. We need to protect biodiversity in our climate action efforts, industrial practices and urban expansion.

We will only preserve Mother Earth through a paradigm shift from a human-centric society to an Earth-centred global ecosystem. This requires us to engage with everyone, including young people who will inherit this planet. Education is critical to safeguarding Mother Earth: training courses on harmony with nature and earth jurisprudence approaches will be essential in creating a resilient world for everyone, everywhere. I commend Member States who promote teachings from ancient cultures who have a deep connection with nature. 

When it comes to Mother Earth we each have something to teach, and something to learn: by working with civil society, the private sector, academia, and the media we will implement the Sustainable Development Goals in harmony with nature.  

I call on all Member States to reaffirm our commitments to  protect Mother Earth, in particular the 2030 Agenda which calls on us to “ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature”.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande