23 April 2020
The International “Earth Day” is celebrated every year on 22nd of April to encourage each of us to recall how the Earth provides life and sustenance.As the COVID-19 pandemic forces people into lockdown around the world, shutting down the global economy, the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day is an urgent reminder that humans need to rethink their relationship with nature.
While UNESCO’s immediate priority remains the management of the pandemic, we have not lost sight of our underlying goal: to help Member States establish a harmonious relationship between people and their environment. Temporary improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and air quality, due to the abrupt shutdown of economic activity around the world, have shown us how harmful these emissions can be.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, is calling on everyone to use this time to reflect on the future.
Let us therefore use this lockdown period to imagine a better relationship between humans and nature, built on harmony rather than opposition.
While our priority remains the management of the pandemic, UNESCO will do everything within its mandate to help Member States establish a harmonious relationship between people and their environment
Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay
For many years, UNESCO has worked to develop this harmony in its Natural World Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks, in line with our collective commitment under the 1992 Rio Declaration. These areas are places of unique biological and geological diversity, where people seek to find a balance that reconciles natural wealth with viable economic perspectives.
These experiences and solutions deserve recognition. This is why UNESCO’s section for Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazard Risk Reduction will highlight, in the coming weeks, the different ways in which UNESCO Global Geoparks are engaging with their communities. Despite difficult conditions, they are continuing to provide services, offer online courses for young people, promote local production, and much more. It is our hope that this wealth of examples will be shared as widely as possible, and serve as an inspiration for others.
If you want to help us imagine a brighter future, follow us from Wednesday, 22 April onwards. Tomorrow is in your hands.