Unless We Ease Pressure on Nature, Another Pandemic Looms, UNDP Warns

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A new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic might not be the last crisis facing humanity.

The report argues that though the pandemic is the most recent crisis facing humankind, ‘’but unless we ease the pressure on nature, it might not be the last. This includes an experimental index on human progress that takes into account countries’ carbon emissions and material footprint.’’

This 30th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report, The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropoceneintroduces an experimental new lens to its annual Human Development Index (HDI) that measures nations’ health, education and standards of living, to show how the global development landscape would change if both the well-being of people and the planet were the focus of measuring humanity’s progress.

Following the launch of the report, UN organisations in Bonn, Germany  joined their host city and the new Mayor Katja Dörner for a virtual dialogue to discuss the key findings and what they mean for the future of each agency’s work.

Making a business case for putting land restoration at the center of human development efforts in the anthropocene, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Deputy Executive Secretary, Tina Birmpili, emphasized that nature-based solutions such as land restoration have the power to transform economies, so that planet and people can thrive together.

Public and private investment in land restoration is the most cost-effective way to create nature-positive food production, a cooler planet, healthy biodiversity and economic growth post-COVID, with potential financial returns of up to 30 times the original investment.

Over 120 countries have already committed to the restoration of one billion hectares of land over the next decade – an area approximately the size of China.

UNCCD is however, the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.

The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

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