UNEP urges govts to reverse worst environmental impacts
The environmental change sweeping the world is occurring at a faster pace than previously thought, making it imperative that governments act now to reverse the damage being done to the planet, says the most authoritative study that UNEP has ever published on the state of the global environment.
Under the title Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments, six separate reports provide highly detailed examinations of the environmental issues affecting each of the world’s six regions: the Pan-European region, North America, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa.
Released ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly, the regional assessments find that the world shares a host of common environmental threats that are rapidly intensifying in many parts of the world.
In almost every region, population growth, rapid urbanization, rising levels of consumption, desertification, land degradation and climate change have combined to leave countries suffering from severe water scarcity. These worrying trends are also making it increasingly hard for the world to feed itself, warn the reports, which involved 1,203 scientists, hundreds of scientific institutions and more than 160 governments.
The assessments, which are based on scientific data and peer reviewed literature, find that there is still time to tackle many of the worst impacts of environmental change, such as the damage to marine ecosystems and the rising level of air pollution, which has become one of the world’s most widespread environmental health risks.
Across the world, climate change, the loss of biodiversity, land degradation and water scarcity are growing problems that need to be urgently addressed if the world is to achieve the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the reports state.
In Africa land degradation, air pollution, and the provision of sanitation and safe drinking water are among the main problems on the continent. Many of the region’s fisheries, both inland and marine, face overexploitation from illegal, under-reported and unregulated fishing.
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