Costa Rica will on June 17 bring together world leaders and leading environmental figures to rally political support to ramp up land restoration globally in the coming decade. The virtual high-level forum will be led by its president, Carlos Alvarado, and the Minister of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza.
The event is part of the 2021 Desertification and Drought Day celebrations organized jointly with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to restore degrading land to hasten the post-COVID-19 recovery.
It will feature the UN Secretary-General, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and world political leaders
It will also address the importance of international cooperation and solidarity in the context of global efforts to restore balance with nature and promote peace, while fighting climate change and ensuring human health.
Costa Rica is hosting the global celebration this year and will show the impacts and solutions for this problem in a televised talk show program to be aired the same day.
The goal for this year’s Desertification and Drought Day is to demonstrate that investing in sustainable land and water management in the aftermath of COVID-19 can invigorate a green recovery, in terms of creating decent jobs and rebuilding livelihoods, but also in protecting societies and economies from potential crises caused by climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.
A statement to this effect said Costa Rican authorities would highlight how the country had implemented public policies and actions to protect nature for decades, and was the first tropical country to halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation.
“Forests cover more than 54 per cent of its territory today and meet the daily needs of thousands for people. More than 26 per cent of the national territory is protected by law and the country is already implementing plans, public policy, and specific actions for land restoration,” the statement noted.
President Alvarado said that “for Costa Rica it is important to use its leadership – and it must do so – to bring many partners together and to be able to raise its voice on this issue.”
“Everything is interconnected in today’s world. In cities, the desertification issue may be seen as something remote. But what happens in rural areas – the loss of those arable areas – means more pressure on the world’s food systems and less food for all and all or less carbon-sequestering forests”, he stressed.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres; the President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkır; UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw; ministers from key countries around the world and civil society participants will also make interventions. Christiana Figueres former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and founder of Global Optimism will moderate the session.
“The pandemic has reminded us how much we depend on each other. How much our fate depends on our relationships with nature. How much we need good political will, combined with collective action, and sustained investment. When these come together, we can make a difference. Restoring land can give us better food and water security, reduced carbon emissions, and healthy air quality.
“We already have the tools – like responsible land governance, and investments that protect and restore nature. Investing in healthy land to drive a green recovery is a smart economic decision. This is how we can build a greener, healthier, and more sustainable future,” executive secretary of the UNCCD, Ibrahim Thiaw, said.