Secretary-General’s message on International Mother Earth Day

Today is International Mother Earth Day.

It is a chance to reflect on how humanity has been treating our planet.

The truth is, we have been poor custodians of our fragile home.

Today, the Earth is facing a triple planetary crisis.

Climate disruption.

Nature and biodiversity loss.

Pollution and waste.

This triple crisis is threatening the well-being and survival of millions of people around the world.

The building blocks of happy, healthy lives — clean water, fresh air, a stable and predictable climate — are in disarray, putting the Sustainable Development Goals in jeopardy.

But there is still hope.

Fifty years ago, the world came together for the Stockholm Conference.

It was the start of the global environmental movement.

Since then, we have seen what is possible when we act as one.

We have shrunk the ozone hole.

We have expanded protections for wild life and ecosystems.

We have ended the use of leaded fuel, preventing millions of premature deaths.

And just last month, we launched a landmark global effort to prevent and end plastic pollution.

We have proven that together, we can tackle monumental challenges.

And the right to a healthy environment is gaining traction.

But we need to do much more.  And much faster.

Especially to avert climate catastrophe.

We must limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

We are far off track.

To keep 1.5 alive, governments must have cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Main emitters must drastically cut emissions starting this year.

This means accelerating the end of our fossil fuel addiction.

And speeding the deployment of clean renewable energy.

At the same time we must invest rapidly in adaptation and resilience, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable who have contributed least to the crisis.

In June, the world will gather once again in Sweden for the Stockholm+50 meeting.

Let us make sure our leaders bring the ambition and action needed to address our triple planetary emergency.

Because we have only one Mother Earth.

We must do everything we can to protect her.

New York

22 April 2022