Observing the International Mother Earth Day on April 22, United Nations Secretary General (SG) António Guterres proposed six climate-related actions to shape the recovery of earth.
"On this International Mother Earth Day, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic – the biggest test the world has faced since the Second World War"
"We must work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequences".
Although the impact of the coronavirus is both "immediate" and dreadful", Guterres alluded to "the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis" as a deep global emergency.
1. Spending huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, nations must ensure the deliverance of new jobs and businesses through a clean and green transition.
2. While financial assistance is utilized to rescue businesses, it needs to be linked in achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.
3. Fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy, and make societies and people more resilient.
4. Public funds should be utilized for investment in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate. Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution.
5. Climate risks to be incorporated into the financial system, in addition to public policymaking and infrastructure.
6. Work together as an international community.
"These six principles constitute an important guide to recovering better together. On this Earth Day, please join me in demanding a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike", said Guterres.
As per the UN, the combined effects of climate change and man-made changes on nature, pose a potentially fatal outcome for the planet's biodiversity.
"Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face COVID -19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem", stated the SG.
"Crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can increase contact and the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) like COVID-19".
As per UN Environment, from a single new infectious disease that emerges in humans every four months, 75 percent of these diseases come from animals.
According to Guterres, "This shows the close relationships between human, animal and environmental health".
Thinking positive to when global economies restart after the ongoing crisis is over, UN Climate Chief Patricia Espinosa spoke of the "opportunity" to “recover better” and significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.
“With this restart, a window of hope and opportunity open. An opportunity for nations to green their recovery packages and shape the 21st-century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, safe and more resilient", advocated Espinosa.
UN estimates that one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, many within decades. More than 40 percent of amphibian species, roughly 33 percent of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened.
Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus that shook the world and continues to devastate, has already infected over 2.5 million people and claimed over 178,548 lives, around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 701,509 people have recovered.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Maldives' first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on March 7, following which on April 15, the country recorded its first local transmission in capital city Male', one of the most congested cities in the world. Presently there are 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 45 are foreigners and a total of 68 active and two probable cases, with 16 recoveries.