UN chief calls for new path of people living in harmony with nature

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It is time for humanity to chart a new path of living in harmony with nature, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, urging the international community to match commitments with actions.

The UN chief made the remarks in a video message to a high-level thematic debate of the General Assembly entitled “Moment for Nature”.

With nature and its benefits deteriorating worldwide, “we face a triple crisis of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution,” said Guterres.

One million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction, threatening the livelihood of millions. Three-quarters of the land and two-thirds of the ocean are adversely impacted by human activity. Some 3.2 billion people are affected by land degradation, he said.

“Since human activities are at the root of this planetary emergency, that means we also hold the key to the solutions,” he said. “Now is the time to transform our relationship with nature and chart a new path.”

Key milestones lie ahead this year “where we can and must deliver,” Guterres said, referring to the COP 27 climate conference and second phase of the COP 15 biodiversity conference, scheduled to be held later this year in Egypt and Canada respectively.

He urged the international community to make commitments and reach bold, global consensus at the conferences, with aims of cutting emissions, tackling key drivers of biodiversity loss and closing the finance gap.

He also cautioned against empty promises, noting that “we need to match commitments with credible and verifiable actions and the finance for implementation.”

“Together, we can and must steer humanity to the path of living in harmony with the planet,” he said. ■

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