Updated: Jul 11
By Hanna Tuoriniemi
HAF Volunteer and University of Michigan Student
Introduction Poster to the Webinar Event, “Virtual Launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration in the Near East and North Africa Region”.
On March 23, 2022, I attended the United Nation’s Virtual Launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration in the Near East and North Africa Region. The main themes presented by numerous esteemed speakers were about various challenges and solutions for the region’s ecosystems, including water scarcity, climate change, deforestation, desertification, species extinction, and environmental degradation. These disasters harm many vulnerable groups and highlight the intensity of climate-related disasters. However, in alignment with the 2030 Agenda, this decade will be pivotal for the United Nations and related stakeholders to discover new solutions to create a brighter future for a thriving ecosystem.
One speaker, Princess Basma bint Talal of Jordan, gave an overview of how the regions are being impacted by ecosystem degradation and what solutions can be presented to encourage change and hope. To summarize, there must be an emphasis on the utilization of resources. Throughout history, the Near East and North Africa region has faced resource depletion, which is having consequences on the ecosystem. However, if the region is able to create new strategies for the effective usage of resources, ecosystem restoration is possible.
In order to do so, there must be multistakeholder engagement and cooperation. An important stakeholder that may be being overlooked and needs support is the younger generation. Many young people understand the consequences of environmental disasters that are becoming more and more prevalent with climate change. The upcoming generation is efficient, eager, and able to create an impact towards restoration.
As with all projects that are this ambitious, there is a nervousness about the feasibility and potential consequences of creating major change. These doubts may stem from apprehension about economic impacts. However, speaker Sami Dimassi pointed out that the economic consequences will be far worse if we do not work together through multistakeholder engagement. If we do nothing, the environmental disasters will cause irreparable damage that will severely harm the global economy.
The UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration is a testament to the United Nation’s ambitiousness to create change that is both impactful and time-sensitive. As an actor of change, the High Atlas Foundation has made advancements toward ecosystem restoration through its initiative to plant 10 million fruit trees by 2025. This will not only help with reforestation, but it will also create new opportunities for numerous communities throughout Morocco.