Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Although Nature is the life support of the planet that is indispensable for our survival, scientific evidence tells us that we live on a rapidly warming, increasingly polluted planet that is losing its biodiversity at an alarming pace. Despite a significant increase in environmental laws put in place since 1972, failure to fully implement and enforce these laws is one of the greatest challenges to mitigating climate change, reducing pollution and preventing widespread loss of biodiversity.

The call for strengthening actions to achieve the SDGs highlights the need to more effectively implement and enforce the recommendations and solutions that have already been proposed. Without effective implementation, the world will not achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A review of obstacles in implementing Assembly resolutions should be an important component in strengthening actions to achieve the SDGs.

Addressing the topic assigned to the UNEA must take account of the fact that the achievement of the SDGs has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic which has reversed progress made on achieving many targets set by Member States.

In 2019, the Assembly decided by consensus to “ambitiously scale up efforts to overcome common environmental challenges” by promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, undertaking action to restore and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, developing a global environmental data strategy in collaboration with other relevant United Nations bodies and addressing the damage to ecosystem caused by the unsustainable use and disposal of plastic products, including by significantly reducing the manufacture and use of single-use plastic products by 2030,

Some of the steps that need to be taken to scale up efforts include motivating Member States to share and implement successful approaches and nature-based solutions that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the eradication of poverty and the promotion of sustainable patterns of consumption and production and ensuring that investments in economic recovery after the pandemic contribute to sustainable development.

The UN Environment Assembly is a unique international platform where strategies and actions for addressing these challenges are discussed based on the most credible science available, and where important decisions on further steps are made.