Biodiversity in the Spotlight on World Environment Day 2020


Themed “Time for Nature”, this year’s World Environment Day puts the spotlight on biodiversity

This year’s World Environment Day (5 June) – an international event by the United Nations to highlight environmental issues and engage stakeholders to take action – is themed ‘Time for Nature’, focusing on biodiversity and its interconnectedness with human activity through the webs of life.

Protecting Earth’s ecosystem and its diverse species and genes remains a pressing environmental issue, with land-use change, pollution, overexploitation of plants and animals, invasive alien species and climate change continuing to drive biodiversity loss worldwide.

Biodiversity is vital for numerous reasons. In essence, a healthy biodiversity provides clean air and water, as well as nutritious foods. It also contributes to scientific and medical understanding, disease resistance and climate change mitigation through its natural resources.

All these lead to enhancing human health, meaning any activity that deteriorates biodiversity will affect the entire life ecosystem and lead to negative consequences.

In describing this year’s World Environment Day, the United Nations notes the interdependence between biodiversity and human activity through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, stating that “when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life.”

“Today, it is estimated that, globally, about one billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from diseases caused by coronaviruses; and about 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmitted to people by animals,” said the intergovernmental organisation.

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