By Raghwesh Ranjan, Director, Social and Economic Empowerment, IPE Global
At the precipice of large-scale climate change and environmental degradation, with climate adaptation costs rising to $500 Billion a year, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has recalled its fifty-year long history of observations to mark World Environment Day (WED) on June 5, 2022.
With the theme #OnlyOneEarth, mirroring that of the first World Environment Day, 1974, the global community has come full circle in realising the importance of planet Earth as the singular home for mankind.
Over the years, the path of fulfilling the far-seeing vision of climate action and clean energy, encapsulated in the sustainable development goals (SDGs), specifically SDGs 7 and 13, has seen its own share of ups and downs. By leading a 10-fold decline in climate disaster-led global deaths over the past 100 years and by ratifying the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, countries have advanced in their commitments to adapt to new environmental demands through individual and collective efforts.
However, the pandemic-led exigencies have lodged us, yet again, at a unique historical juncture as we now face the need to rethink our past policy gaps on one hand and the opportunity to carve new avenues for future progress on another.
With global carbon emissions rising to 6% in 2021, their highest ever level, according to an IEA analysis, developing countries must look towards the Nordic experience in staying on-track with net-zero commitments and SDG implementation.
World leaders must also revert to change-making ground-up to bridge SDG financing gaps and effectuate strategic policies across regions and sectors.
Nonetheless, as world leaders come together in Sweden this year to deliberate on past accomplishments, understand present needs, and chart out the future of SDG-led climate progress, faith is once again reposed in the power of collective, transformative and decisive action.
Indeed, with this year’s focus on cultivating a harmony between life and nature, WED-led outcomes will reiterate the pressing need to integrate deliberative goal-making with grassroot implementation to protect the ecosystem upon which we all greatly depend.
The thematic meeting of all stakeholders will also open opportune grounds for new consensus-building in furtherance of one common goal – protecting our homes and promising for our children a future in which they can freely breathe and thrive.
Raghwesh Ranjan leads Social and Economic Empowerment practice. He has over 15 years of experience in implementation and management of sustainable development programmes.