Source: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador
In a historic moment, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) put El Salvador on the world map. Today the UN adopted a proposal that will put ecosystem restoration as a priority issue on the agenda of 193 countries.
On this day, during the celebration of the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), in New York, the "United Nations Decade for the Restoration of Ecosystems 2021-2030" was adopted by consensus, an initiative promoted by El Salvador.
During the session, the Salvadoran Minister of the Environment, Lina Pohl, gave a speech in which she thanked, on behalf of the Government of El Salvador, the opportunity to introduce the resolution, which seeks to establish a framework of action to promote and energize the agreements and commitments already in place, seeking their coordination and synergy that will translate into a significant contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030, without budgetary implications and respecting the existing mandates of the United Nations agencies.
The Salvadoran environmental authority reiterated in its intervention that "the impacts of ecosystem degradation significantly affect biodiversity, land productivity, and the economy of our nations, especially in vulnerable areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The degradation of ecosystems, according to the official, leads to a loss of critical ecosystem services that negatively impact the welfare of at least 3.2 billion people in the world, also increasing their vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
Reversing this reality is possible through nature-based actions. Ecosystem restoration adopting a holistic approach can generate tangible benefits that will increase food and water security, contribute to biodiversity conservation, as well as to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts and disaster risk reduction.
According to the Salvadoran representative, the establishment of the Decade will make it possible to generate an environment conducive to facilitating and promoting public awareness of the importance of having functional ecosystems for human well-being, economic sustainability and sustainable development.
Likewise, it will promote and facilitate a greater active involvement of relevant actors in restoration activities, motivating and achieving the full participation of different stakeholders, such as local communities, private enterprise, the public sector, academia, indigenous peoples and society in general.
Ecosystem restoration, promoted through the UN Decade, adopts a multifunctional landscape approach - Interdependent Land Use Mosaic - where ecological, economic, social and development priorities can find convergence, balance and complementarity, translating into a "cost effective" instrument to achieve the goals and objectives established by the different Multilateral Environmental Agreements, with synergistic approaches to Climate Change, Biodiversity, Water Resources, Land Degradation and Risk Reduction Agendas, and in turn to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 15 (Life on Land); SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 14 (Life below Water)
The support of the 193 UN countries was possible thanks to the backing of the President of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who presented this initiative at the 73rd regular session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, and to a whole lobbying effort by the Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations, Rubén Escalante, and the MARN restoration specialist, Jorge Quezada, who together with Minister Pohl, took this issue to all the international negotiation spaces, such as the climate change and biodiversity summits, ministers' meetings and other important spaces.
Pohl thanked the 69 countries who co-sponsored this initiative, including the European Union, the African countries, the Latin American countries, Canada, Russia, Uruguay, the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).