June 4, 2024, 07:03:27   


World Environment Day is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1973, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world. The theme of World Environment Day 2024 is 'Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience'. The slogan of this event  is  “Our Land, Our Future.” We are Generation Restoration.”

World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (5–16 June 1972), which resulted from discussions on the integration of human relationships and the environment. A year later, on 5 June 1973, the first Environment Day was held with the theme “Only One Earth”.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host World Environment Day 2024 with a focus on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience. Land restoration is a key pillar of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, which is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our ecosystems—forests, wetlands, oceans—are more vital to life, yet they face enormous pressure from human activities. Restoring ecosystems means more than planting trees; It involves reviving the natural processes and relationships that sustain life. The climate crisis demands urgent action, as highlighted in the latest IPCC report, which warns of rising temperatures and biodiversity loss. Whereas, by restoring ecosystems, we can mitigate climate change and improve human well being. Reforestation is not only important for the environment but also economically beneficial. The United Nations estimates that every dollar invested in restoration could yield up to $30 in economic benefits, creating jobs and increasing productivity. Green recovery strategies provide a unique opportunity to prioritize ecosystem restoration. Do it. Everyone has a role to play – governments, businesses and individuals. Policy support, corporate responsibility and everyday actions can make a difference. Education is important to influence future environmental managers. Today, let us celebrate the successes of the global recovery and commit to accelerating our efforts. Together, we can build a harmonious future where humans and nature thrive.

 India, with about 32% of its land under degradation and 25% undergoing desertification, has a huge task cut out to ensure sustainable land management as well as food, water and livelihood security by adopting both preventive and curative strategies for moving towards land degradation neutrality in a realistic time-frame. The degradation of fertile land and the encroaching desertification threaten the very foundation of food security, biodiversity  and community resilience. However, amidst these challenges, there is a beacon of hope in restoration efforts and multifaceted approaches to combat desertification.   India has high stakes and stands strongly committed to the Convention. Various schemes have been launched by the Government of India such as:  Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Soil Health Card Scheme, Soil Health Management Scheme,  Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PKSY), Per Drop More Crop, , etc. which are helping to reduce land degradation.  ..