ABS for a green economy to beat air pollution and climate change

ABS for a green economy to beat air pollution and climate change

5 Jun 2019

Photo: UNDP-GEF Global ABS Project from Shutterstock.

Aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world, the United Nations designated 5 June as World Environment Day.

The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.

Regarding ABS, it is a date to note the commitments of the Nagoya Protocol with the  environment´s conservation.

The Nagoya Protocol encourages Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable Sharing of Benefits derived from their utilization (ABS), as well as its associated traditional knowledge, for productive and economic use while conserving biodiversity. By these means, the successful implementation of ABS has the potential to make considerable contributions to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

Therefore, the UNDP- GEF Global ABS Project joins to the international call of UN for World Environment Day in the demand of a green economy in order to reduce pollution and beat climate change.

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is air pollution. An estimated nine out of ten people worldwide are exposed to air pollutants that exceed World Health Organization air quality guidelines.

Deaths and illnesses from air pollution are caused by tiny particles that penetrate our defences every time we fill our lungs. These particles come from many sources: the burning of fossil fuels for power and transport; the chemicals and mining industries; the open burning of waste; the burning of forests and fields; and the use of dirty indoor cooking and heating fuels, which are major problems in the developing world.

This polluted air kills some 7 million people each year, causes long term health problems, such as asthma, and reduces children’s cognitive development.

Many air pollutants also cause global warming. Black carbon is one such example. Produced by diesel engines, burning trash and dirty cookstoves, it is extremely harmful when inhaled. Reducing emissions of such pollutants will not only improve public health, it could alleviate global warming by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius over the next few decades.

“It is time to act decisively. My message to governments is clear: tax pollution; end fossil fuel subsidies; and stop building new coal plants. We need a green economy not a grey economy”, claimed Secretary-General, António Guterres.

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