There has never been a more urgent need to revive damaged ecosystems than now, according to the UN Environment Program who will launch the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration this month. In June, as the world marks several days, events and campaigns relating to restoration and conservation of our natural environment, the Goal of the Month editorial looks at Sustainable Development Goals 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life under Water) and 15 (Life on Land).

Events in June

World Environment Day | 5 June | #WorldEnvironmentDay

“Science tells us these next 10 years are our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss.”

— From UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Environment Day 2021


UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030)

From 4-5 June 2021, there will be a Virtual Launch Gala welcoming the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration comprising of inspiring messages from world leaders, activists, celebrities, and musical performances, and hosted by the Government of Pakistan. Check out list of events around the commemoration.

Led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Decade will be a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world in a major effort to improve people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity.

Ahead of the launch, UNEP and FAO will release a report called “Becoming #GenerationRestoration: Ecosystem Restoration for People, Nature and Climate” on 3 June looking at the importance of restoration for our survival, the financial investment required for it in the coming decade, and the expected returns for people and nature.

Check out UNEP’s digital assets for the events.

Learn more about our ecosystems:

See the facts and figures
Explore the journey of the ecosystems
Download the Ecosystem Restoration Playbook
Play the restore the planet game
Take the Snap Challenge
Visit a live blog with latest information
Browse through the official schedule of events

“We are a fraction of a second in earth’s lifetime. Yet she is our only lifeline.” – Spoken Word Poet Jordan Sanchez

Nineteen year-old Jordan Sanchez, who is studying physics at Harvard University, lends her talent and voice to World Environment Day with a spoken word piece titled “Recreate. Reimagine. Restore” – a powerful call to action, reminding listeners that we must stop plundering and start protecting the planet’s resources.

Watch Poet Jordan Sanchez’s video for WED.


World Oceans Day | 8 June | #OceansDay

This World Ocean Day, celebrated under the theme “Life and Livelihoods,” the United Nations will host a day-long event featuring more than 40 thought-leaders, celebrities, community voices, entrepreneurs, and many more including renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, explorer Jean-Michal Cousteau and actors Sam Waterson and Gael Gracia Bernal. 

The event will close with a concert featuring several musicians and bands including Angelique Kidjo, Bomba Estereo, Valerie June and the Longest Johns. Full schedule is available here.

Ahead of the Day, on 7 June, the UN SDG Media Compact is inviting you to join a dynamic group of media professionals who will share the successes and obstacles they have faced in bringing these important issues to life through accurate, credible and science-based information and reporting.

Register here.

Since 2017, the United Nations has announced the winners of an annual photo contest featuring expert photographers from around the world during the World Oceans Day event. Check out the winners and their work from past years. 

Learn more about the state of our ocean with the recently launched World Ocean Assessment II. Explore why the United Nations has declared 2021-2030 the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.  

Other ocean-related commemorations in June:

International Day against Illegal, Unreported & Unregulated Fishing | 5 June

The International Day was established in 2017 to bolster the efforts of the international community to ensure the sustainability of fisheries that are being seriously compromised by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

Day of the Seafarer | 25 June

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subject to difficult working conditions and uncertainties severely affecting their livelihoods.

The International Maritime Organization marks the Day of the Seafarer in 2021 encouraging governments to support seafarers amid and beyond the pandemic- to ensure fair treatment, working conditions, safety and training.


First draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | 14 June

Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, from 11 to 24 October, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) releases the first official draft of the targets and indicators of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – a milestone global agreement to protect and manage nature, and reverse biodiversity loss and its impact on ecosystems, species and people.

More information on a virtual press conference on 14 June to launch the first draft will be available on CBD’s website.


Laying Down Tracks Podcast: Nature-based Production and the Blue Economy | 2 June

A podcast recently launched by the UN Food Systems Summit and Sourcing Matters, Laying Down Tracks features world experts on issues related to food systems, world hunger, malnutrition, climate change, and much more. The latest episode, to be released on 2 June, will feature Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, in a conversation with co-host Joao Campari, the Global Leader of World Wildlife Fund’s Food Practice, on the power of nature-based solutions and the importance of a sustainable blue economy.

FEATURE STORIES

Vanuatu: Renewable tech brings power swarming through the world’s poorest villages

Swarm grids, an innovative technology designed to work with renewable energy sources, are bringing reliable electricity to some of the world’s poorest and remote regions for the first time, providing a major boost to the livelihoods of those who live there.

The Arctic: Climate change threatens winged harbinger of spring

A sure sign of spring in northern Europe is the arrival of the Arctic tern bird, but ahead of the UN’s World Migratory Bird Day  experts fear the warming of the oceans in its nesting grounds in the northern Atlantic is threatening its very existence.

First Person: Gardening is ‘political’ says Irish celebrity horticulturist

For Diarmuid Gavin, a renowned Irish gardener and TV personality, horticulture has a role to play in all contemporary affairs, from the Black Lives Matter Movement to the ongoing pandemic, because “everything is connected, and everything is political”.

First Person: The ‘Human Swan’ inspiring climate action

Australian biologist Sacha Dench has been nicknamed “the Human Swan”, in recognition of her record-breaking, 7,000 kilometre, paramotor (motorized paraglider) flight, tracking Bewick swans across 11 countries, from Arctic Russian to the UK.

OTHER EVENTS

Bicycles remain one of the most sustainable forms of transportation – they are good for the environment and the economy, and for human health. Bicycles have helped many communities, serving as cheap and reliable transportation to get their children to school, travel to the market or deliver lifesaving medicine and vaccines.

Learn more about the forthcoming Second UN Global Sustainable Transportation Conference to be held in Beijing, China, in October 2021.

Today, 70 percent of the world’s land has been transformed by human activity and land degradation affects some 3.2 billion people. The Day acts as a reminder of the impact of desertification on biodiversity, eco-safety, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability and sustainable development.

The International Day celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the tropics while highlighting unique challenges and opportunities tropical nations face. It provides an opportunity to take stock of progress across the tropics, share expertise and acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region.

ActNow Climate Action Campaign

The UN ActNow campaign was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2018 with a call from Sir David Attenborough in conjunction with the award-winning “People’s Seat” initiative.

Today, the campaign has inspired 2.5 million acts towards a more sustainable life – from taking shorter showers, to cutting down food waste, and driving less. It has been embraced by climate activists, companies, chefs and communities – committed to changing social behaviour and norms to make a difference around the world, one action at a time.

Resources