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UN Claims Environmental Threats To The World are Result Of Lethargic Laws

Experts urged governments to address hiccups that had undermined enforcement of legislation that promote environmental governance

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Researchers found high concentrations of nickel in the Sydney Basin's mud-rock - surprising because there are no local sources of the element. Pixabay

Environmental threats like climate change and pollution are linked to lethargic enforcement of laws governing management of vital ecosystems, says a report released on Thursday by UN Environment.

According to the first ever global assessment of environmental rule of law, the quest to maintain a healthy and clean planet was being undermined by weak enforcement of legislation to protect it from natural and human-induced threats.

“This report solves the mystery of why problems such as pollution, declining biodiversity and climate change persist despite the proliferation of environmental laws in recent decades,” said David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment.

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Environmental threats like climate change and pollution are linked to lethargic enforcement of laws governing management of vital ecosystems, says a report released on Thursday by UN Environment. Wikimedia

“Unless the environmental rule of law is strengthened, even seemingly rigorous rules are destined to fail and the fundamental human right to a healthy environment will go unfulfilled,” he was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The UN Environment report said that rapid development of environmental laws and treaties since 1972 had not translated into their enactment thus escalating threats to ecosystems that sustain livelihoods.

It said more than 1,100 environmental treaties and legal frameworks had been developed by national governments since 1972 when the UN environment agency was formed.

At the same time, donor support and robust domestic funding to facilitate development of new environmental laws had been consistent in the last four decades, but it had not been matched with their enforcement, said the report.

It noted that poor coordination among government agencies, weak institutional capacity, lack of access to information, corruption and limited civic engagement contributed to weak enforcement of environmental rule of laws.

“We have the machinery in the form of laws, regulations and agencies to govern our environment sustainably,” said Joyce Msuya, UN Environment Acting Executive Director.

“Political will is now critical to making sure our laws work for the planet. This first global assessment on environmental rule of law highlights the work those standing on the right side of history-and how many nations are stronger and safer as a result,” she added.

Environment
The report revealed that 88 countries had adopted the constitutional right to a healthy environment while an additional 65 had enshrined environmental protection in their constitutions.

The report revealed that 88 countries had adopted the constitutional right to a healthy environment while an additional 65 had enshrined environmental protection in their constitutions.

Also Read: ‘Red Rot’ Infestation In Sugarcane Leads India Into Trouble

Likewise, over 350 environmental courts and tribunals had been established in more than 50 countries while over 60 countries had some legal provisions for citizen’s right to environmental information.

Experts urged governments to address hiccups that had undermined enforcement of legislation that promote environmental governance. (IANS)

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UN: World Showing Lack of Ambition in Reducing Inequality, Countering Climate Change

The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating

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climate change, reducing inequality
UN document stresses that 75 per cent of children who suffer from stunted growth and physical development live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Pixabay

The world’s governments are showing a lack of ambition in pursuing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in terms of reducing inequality and countering climate change, the United Nations said in a report published Tuesday.

The findings were presented at the opening of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which brings together some 2,000 participants from around the world to evaluate progress toward meeting the 17 SDGs that the world body’s 193 member-states set in 2015, the Efe news reported.

Time is running short to take effective action on climate change, the head of UN Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, said. “The challenges highlighted in this report are global problems that require global solutions. Just as problems are interrelated, the solutions to poverty, inequality, climate change and other global challenges are also interlinked,” he said.

climate change, reducing inequality
The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating. Pixabay

While the report notes some progress, including lower levels of extreme poverty, expanded immunization, improved access to electricity and a 49 per cent reduction in mortality among children 5 and under, the emphasis is on the need for greater urgency.

“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

“The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating; the last four years have been the warmest on record; one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction; and land degradation continues unchecked,” Guterres said.

climate change, reducing inequality
Climate change it says is worsening the ability of people to get enough to eat. Pixabay

Liu said that climate change remains the greatest obstacle to “our shared prosperity,” as extreme weather affects agriculture and, by extension, efforts to reduce hunger.

ALSO READ: Sanders and Ocasio- Cortez Teaming Up on Plan to Designate Climate Change as Emergency

The UN document stresses that 75 per cent of children who suffer from stunted growth and physical development live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, while people residing in at-risk states are twice as likely to lack basic sanitation and four times more likely to be without reliable access to potable water.

Looking forward, the report said that steps to combat climate change can also help in reducing poverty and inequality. In that regard, Liu said that moving toward renewable, non-polluting sources of energy will in turn begin to reverse deforestation, just as sustainable agriculture can ease both hunger and want, as nearly 80 per cent of people living in extreme poverty are residents of rural areas. (IANS)