Boats navigating within a mangrove
Mangroves are part of the well-known coastal wetland ecosystems and are very important for biodiversity due to the services they provide.
Photo:UNDP Mexico

REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.

For too long, we have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystems. Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch and over the last century we have& destroyed half of our& wetlands. As much as 50 per cent of our coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 per cent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5°C.

Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks, like forests and peatlands, at a time humanity can least afford it. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the planet is one pace for potentially catastrophic climate change.

The emergence of COVID-19 has also shown just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread.

With this big and challenging picture, the World Environment Day is focus in the ecosystem restoration and its theme is “Reimagine. Recreate.Restore.”

Ecosystem restoration means preventing, halting and reversing this damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it. This World Environment Day will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.

Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.

2021 WED poster that reads: Let's revive our oceans

Ecosystem Restoration Playbook

UNEP has published a practical guide to ecosystem restoration that provides an introduction to the range of actions that can slow and halt the degradation of ecosystems and foster their recovery.

Investing in ecosystems is investing in our future

World Environment Day 2021, which counts with Pakistan as the host country this year for its official celebrations, calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems.

From forests to peatlands to coasts, we all depend on healthy ecosystems for our survival. Ecosystems are defined as the interaction between living organisms - plants, animals, people - with their surroundings. This includes nature, but also human-made systems such as cities or farms.

Ecosystem restoration is a global undertaking at massive scale. It means repairing billions of hectares of land – an area greater than China or the USA – so that people have access to food, clean water and jobs.

It means bringing back plants and animals from the brink of extinction, from the peaks of mountains to the depths of the sea.

But it also includes the many small actions everyone can take, every day: growing trees, greening our cities, rewilding our gardens or cleaning up trash alongside rivers and coasts.

Restoring ecosystems carries substantial benefits for people. For every dollar invested in restoration, at least seven to thirty dollars in returns for society can be expected. Restoration also creates jobs in rural areas where they are most needed.

Some countries have already invested in restoration as part of their strategies to bounce back from COVID-19. Others are turning to restoration to help them adapt to a climate that is already changing.

Join the Generation

Did you know?

  • Over 4.7 million hectares of forests – an area larger than Denmark – are lost every year.
  • Nearly 80 per cent of the world’s wastewater is discharged to our oceans and rivers without treatment.
  • Wetlands are being drained for agriculture, with some 87 per cent lost globally in the last 300 years.
  • Present in more than 180 countries, peatlands are vital, super-powered ecosystems. Though they cover only 3 per cent of the world’s land, they store nearly 30 per cent of its soil carbon.

Get involved!

WED 2021 UNEP logo that reads: REIMAGINE. RECREATE. RESTORE.

More than 50 events!

scene of the side of a mountain full of vegetation

Browse through the 2021 official schedule of events hosted by UNEP and Decade Partners, featuring high level speakers, expert panels and other events taking place around the world.

Related links

Diver in the ocean.

Join the #GenerationRestoration movement through the official website of World Environment Day 2021. You can access more interesting information about ecosystems, the actions you can carry out to contribute to their restoration, as well as a large number of materials to promote the movement through social media. Every performance, no matter how small, matters.

Hands touching a tree trunk

World Environment Day launch the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. This decade aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction. It will only succeed if everyone plays a part. Find out more about ecosystems and the UN Decade, and join the global movement to restore our world.

A crowd of women sitting and laughing

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.