LWF calls to “protect and restore ecosystems”

9 Mar 2022
At UNEA-5 a historic resolution to End Plastic Pollution was e endorsed that will be forged into an international legally binding agreement by 2024. Photo: Dustan Woodhouse, Unsplash

At UNEA-5 a historic resolution to End Plastic Pollution was e endorsed that will be forged into an international legally binding agreement by 2024. Photo: Dustan Woodhouse, Unsplash

Integrated solutions needed to achieve climate justice and sustainable development

(LWI) – “It is impossible to achieve the agenda for sustainable development (SDGs) without facing the triple planetary crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution – using integrated solutions across different instruments and multilateral agreements,” said Elena Cedillo. She is the Program Executive for Climate Justice at The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). “Overconsuming natural resources puts the entire web of creation at risk.”

Cedillo evaluated the outcome of the Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) that took place online and in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 February to 2 March.

“UNEA-5 gave me valuable insights into the significant environmental challenges our planet is facing. Genuine multilateral action to address them is vital as we all share one planet,” said Girma Gudina, Country Representative of the LWF’s Kenya-Djibouti-Somalia program. “I believe it is beneficial for LWF, and especially World Service, to participate in related future assemblies and processes.”

Natan Schumann from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil was previously an LWF delegate to the UN Climate Conference COP26. “It was wonderful to see youth being attentively listened to by country representatives during leadership dialogues and high-level sessions of UNEA-5,” he said. “We should not stop there: youth participation at events like this can and should be increased. It is our future being discussed. For example, the ambitious resolution at UNEA-5 to end plastic pollution will decisively impact future generations.”

On 2 March, Heads of State, Ministers of environment, and other representatives from 175 nations endorsed a historic resolution to End Plastic Pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024. The resolution addresses the entire lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal.

Rhoda Mutesi Julius Lugaziya from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania added that UNEA-5 “played a critical role in reminding us that there is no development at all if nature is compromised.” However, she said it was not too late to change the narrative. “As the young generation, we need to understand that we have everything to gain from acting against climate change and everything to lose if we don’t. So let us all unite and take action now!”

In the spirit of the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, another critical resolution focuses on nature-based solutions: actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage ecosystems. The resolution calls on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to support the implementation of such solutions, which safeguard the rights of communities and indigenous peoples.

“Having a universally agreed definition of nature-based solutions is important,” Cedillo explained. When countries and companies claim that their actions support nature-based solutions, it can now be assessed whether this is accurate and what it entails. “Nature-based solutions must not harm nature itself,” Cedillo stresses.

“It was, once again, made clear that environmental health and well-being and protecting and restoring ecosystems are vital for the survival of humankind,” she said.

The LWF engaged at UNEA-5 with a delegation comprising youth, World Service representatives, and Action for Justice unit members. The Assembly theme was “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. It concluded with 14 resolutions to strengthen actions to this aim.

By LWF/A. Weyermüller


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