Celebrating nature | May & June 2024 campaigns

Every year, the world’s focus turns to nature as we celebrate special days during the months of May and June. 2024 is no exception. Below, you’ll find a snapshot of the special days celebrated and the rallying call for us to do more to restore our natural world and protect biodiversity so both people and nature can thrive.

World Migratory Bird Day

On World Migratory Bird Day, we recognized the importance of urban nature in cities as critical ecological corridors for migratory birds.

As these creatures journey across continents, urban areas serve as crucial refueling stations, offering a range of insects essential for their sustenance. The realities laid out in the 1st State of the World’s Migratory Species report paint a picture of migratory species in crisis. Rapid urbanization and habitat loss threaten vital stopover sites, endangering the birds that rely on them.

World Biodiversity Day

On International Day for Biological Diversity, we spotlighted the crucial role of cities in protecting our planet’s biodiversity.

Urban areas, hosting more than half of the world’s population, are significant contributors to the degradation and destruction of nature, exacerbating the decline of biodiversity. In spite of these challenges, cities emerge with innovative and shining examples of actions to protect the environment and shape our collective future.

Living from, with, in, as nature - IPBES Assessment

Special focus on: Methodological assessment regarding the diverse conceptualization of multiple values of nature and its benefits, including biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services

This assessment reminds us that we are all living from, with, in and as nature.

From nature: emphasizing nature’s capacity to provide resources for sustaining livelihoods, needs and wants of people, such as food and material

With nature: has a focus on life (other than human) such as the intrinsic right of a fish in a river to thrive independently of human needs

In nature: refers to the importance of nature as the setting for people’s sense of place and identity

As nature: sees the natural world as a physical, mental and spiritual part of oneself. 

World Environment Day

This World Environment Day, the focus was on ecosystem restoration.

Ten reasons why cities play a key role in land restoration, combating desertification, and building drought resilience:

  1. The burden of cities: Urban areas, occupying 3% of Earth’s land, are responsible for 75% of resource and energy use, over half of waste, and 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, significantly contributing to land degradation.
  2. Urban restoration for climate change: Restoring urban ecosystems helps cities counter climate change and disasters by enhancing carbon sequestration, reducing emissions, and providing natural disaster protection.
  3. Economic benefits of restoration: Investing in restoration yields up to $30 in ecosystem services per dollar spent. Cities can capitalize on these benefits by incorporating green infrastructure and restoration projects.
  4. Urban biodiversity: Protecting urban biodiversity creates sustainable environments. This includes conserving wildlife habitats through biodiversity considerations in urban planning, governance, and resource allocation.
  5. Sustainable urban planning: Cities can address land degradation by incorporating sustainable land use practices that mitigate climate change impacts, such as increased droughts and heatwaves.
  6. Food security and urban agriculture: Land degradation reduces global food productivity. Urban agriculture can help cities improve food security and reduce the urban heat island effect.
  7. Water management: Land degradation affects water supplies. Cities need sustainable water practices, like rainwater harvesting and restoring natural water bodies, to ensure clean water availability.
  8. Indigenous knowledge: Indigenous communities are vital for conservation. Cities can incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into urban green space management.
  9. Youth engagement: Engaging youth in restoration projects is crucial. Cities should invest in youth-led initiatives to foster new environmental stewards.
  10. Women’s involvement: Women are integral to restoration efforts. Urban policies should promote gender equality and involve women in land use and conservation decision-making.

These points underscore the importance of integrating environmental sustainability into urban planning and policy-making for the well-being of urban communities and the planet.