Human health in dire straits if urgent actions are not made to protect the environment

European Business & Biodiversity Campaign - News

Human health in dire straits if urgent actions are not made to protect the environment

The most comprehensive and rigorous assessment on the state of the environment completed by the UN in the last five years was published on 13 March, warning that damage to the planet is so dire that people’s health will be increasingly threatened unless urgent action is taken.

The report, which was produced by 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries, says that either we drastically scale up environmental protections, or cities and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa could see millions of premature deaths by mid-century. It also warns that pollutants in our freshwater systems will see anti-microbial resistance become a major cause of death by 2050 and endocrine disruptors impact male and female fertility, as well as child neurodevelopment.

But the report highlights the fact that the world has the science, technology and finance it needs to move towards a more sustainable development pathway, although sufficient support is still missing from the public, business and political leaders who are clinging to outdated production and development models.

The sixth Global Environmental Outlook has been released while environmental ministers from around the world are in Nairobi to participate in the world’s highest-level environmental forum. Negotiations at the Fourth UN Environment Assembly are expected to tackle critical issues such as stopping food waste, promoting the spread of electric mobility, and tackling the crisis of plastic pollution in our oceans, among many other pressing challenges.

Biodiversity is in crisis and threats to biodiversity become more complex, states the report. It names Food production as the main driver of biodiversity loss (Kok et al. 2014). While new technologies have allowed us unparalleled insight into the different dimensions of biodiversity, from genomes to biomes, negative trends in almost every aspect of biodiversity indicate the need for concerted action. The authors state that increased investment in conservation on a global scale  and greater focus on strengthening governance systems is urgently required.

Download: UN Environment’s Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6)

Source: Press Release UN Environment, 13.03.2019