18/06/2024 10:31 AM

NEW YORK, June 18 (Bernama-Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged immediate action to halt the destruction of the Earth, citing that nearly 40 per cent of the planet's land is degraded, with more being lost every second, reported Xinhua.

"Every second, around four football fields of healthy land are degraded," the UN chief said in a video message for the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, marked annually on June 17.

"The security, prosperity and health of billions of people rely on thriving lands supporting lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems, but we're vandalising the Earth that sustains us," Guterres said.

"Healthy land not only provides us with almost 95 percent of food eaten around the world but so much more. It clothes and shelters people, provides jobs and livelihoods, and protects communities from the worsening droughts, floods, and wildfires," he noted.

"As the focus of this year's World Day reminds us, we must be 'United for Land,'" he said. "Governments, businesses, academics, communities, and more must come together and act."

"We know what we need to do," the UN chief said. "It's set out clearly in the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). As we mark the 30th anniversary of the convention, the world must dramatically pick up the pace of implementation."

To do this, he pointed to building momentum towards the UNCCD Conference of States Parties (COP16), scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2024, and ensuring young people are heard in the negotiations.

"Together, let's sow the seeds for a thriving future for nature and humanity," Guterres said. 






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