News Digest | 1-15 December

UN honors pioneering initiatives to restore ecosystems worldwide

The innovative efforts were declared by World Restoration Flagships at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 15. Spanning 23 countries from Central America to East Asia, they are presenting a combined area bigger than Myanmar, Somalia or France and aim to create nearly 15 million sustainable jobs. They were chosen under the banner of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration which operates through 2030 and has the deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One million species are at risk of extinction because of degradation of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems if the countries do not take actions. Restoring just 15% of ecosystems in priority areas would stop extinctions by 60%. The initiatives were honored because of large-scale and long-term ecosystem restoration. The flagships described the most promising, ambitious and inspirational examples of making peace with nature. With the expectation of accelerated funding to the multi-partner trust fund for the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, further submissions are being taken into account, including from Peru and Pakistan, and another focused on Somalia and other drought-affected countries.

‘Just Transition’ policies needed to create 20 million green jobs: UN report 

Nature-based solutions aim to restore, protect and sustainably manage marine ecosystems and water while providing human well-being, biodiversity benefits and ecosystem resilience. NbS employs almost 75 million people, 96% of whom live in Asia and the Pacific and lower middle income countries currently. NbS part-time jobs add up to the equivalent of around 14.5 million full time jobs. NbS works in low and lower-middle income countries consist of 98 and 99 percent each in the agriculture and forestry sectors. In industrialized countries, NbS spending focused on ecosystem restoration and natural resource management. Public services constitute 37% of NbS work in high income countries. If investment in NbS were tripled by 2030, an additional 20 million jobs could be generated worldwide as a major step toward achieving land restoration, biodiversity and climate goals. However, currently there is no guarantee that NbS employment will meet ILO’s standards for green jobs in the environmental sector or create fair conditions for workers for freedom, security and human dignity.

UN taps potential for trust-building on shared water resources

The decision to create the Coalition comes ahead of the second UN Water Conference in March 2023. Equitable water management and security is the top on the list of the UN’s priorities as a means of preventing conflict and it is one of the SDGs as well. The UN body noted that although 153 countries share transboundary rivers, lakes or aquifer basins, only 24 have all of their transboundary basins secured by operational arrangements. UNECE explained that myriad interested parties are set to join forces in addition to governments and intergovernmental organizations from regional integration organizations to international academic and financial institutions, together with civil society groups. Swiss government said water diplomacy, an approach known as Blue Peace which has no less than 263 catchment basins of lakes or rivers extending over two or more countries worldwide can defuse potential conflicts.

Young people’s leadership, drive for justice, the ‘best signals of hope’ that biodiversity loss can be halted

The COP, the Fifteenth Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is expected to see the adoption of a post-2020 roadmap for the conservation, restoration, protection and sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity for the next decade. The civil society and business community need to understand to make peace with nature. It is important to have adequate financing, especially for Africa and developing countries to protect biodiversity. The UN and the international community have been fighting for various innovative ways to solve the issue. It is needed to make sure that when the World Bank and other international development banks operate, they give guarantees and assume the first risk in coalitions to mobilize massive private finance at reasonable cost for developing countries.

UN appeals for record $51.5 billion to help 230 million on the brink in 2023

The UN and partner organizations noted that the size of the appeal – 25% higher than this year’s, reflects that the total number in need is 65 million more than in 2022. The UN’s top emergency relief official said the needs are shockingly high and it is very likely that this year’s emergencies would continue into 2023. According to the Global Humanitarian Overview report 2023, numerous countries had been hit by lethal floods and droughts from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa. More than 100 million people are displaced worldwide now. In 2023, 45 million people in 37 countries will be under risk of starvation. The vulnerable communities also face pressure on various fronts including health problems like COVID-19 outbreak. To help communities on the front line of the climate emergency, the UN emergency relief chief mentioned that humanitarians should play a bigger role in international climate discussions to secure resilience funding for those who are in need. The FAO said it needs $1.9 billion to reach 48 million who depend on subsistence farming and agriculture, with livelihood assistance and lifesaving in 2023. The UN agency provides crop and vegetable seed packages, cash, along with livestock feed to those in need, including in conflict zones. In addition, FAO promotes improvements to vital infrastructure including irrigation systems and markets to support resilience to future emergencies.

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