On the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, WHO has joined the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a partnership aimed at preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of our ecosystems and the diversity of life they sustain.
WHO has joined the partnership as a collaborating agency, along with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and a large number of partners.
Ecosystem restoration can significantly contribute to supporting health and well-being by helping to regulate infectious diseases, supporting food and nutrition security, and contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation. Restoration also reduces the risk of disasters, while supporting livelihoods and healthy societies.
Safeguarding and restoring ecosystems globally will contribute to long-term social wellbeing and ecological resilience, while boosting green recovery efforts from the pandemic. Last year, WHO launched a Manifesto for a Healthy and Green Recovery from COVID-19, outlining six prescriptions essential to a healthier, greener and more equitable future. The first of these prescriptions recognizes that nature needs to be protected and preserved as the source of human health.
The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is part of a series of collaborative efforts led by WHO that seek to strengthen cross-sectoral collaboration and engagement at the human, animal, plant and ecosystem interface, also known as One Health.
Among other recent efforts, last week WHO also held its first inaugural meeting of the newly established Expert Working Group on Biodiversity, Climate, One Health and Nature-based Solutions (EWG), concurrently with the 74th World Health Assembly. The working group aims to develop policies and recommendations that promote a healthy recovery, help prevent future health risks associated with ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change, and chart a common path toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WHO will host an online #GenerationRestoration event in July 2021, in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders. The event will provide insights in how to mainstream health in Nature-based Solutions, with a focus on the numerous co-benefits ecosystem restoration can provide in our journey toward a healthier, more sustainable future for all.