30 MAY 2021
10 key facts about World Environment Day 2021
By United Nations
Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks, like forests and peatlands, at a time humanity can least afford it. The emergence of COVID-19 has also shown just how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread.
Ecosystem restoration means preventing, halting and reversing this damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it. Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.
This year, World Environment Day is focused on ecosystem restoration and its theme is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.”
This World Environment Day will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.
Ecosystem restoration is a global undertaking at massive scale. It means repairing billions of hectares of land – an area greater than China or the USA – so that people have access to food, clean water and jobs.
Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the planet is on pace for potentially catastrophic climate change.
Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch and over the last century we have destroyed half of our wetlands.
As much as 50 percent of our coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 percent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5°C.
Over 4.7 million hectares of forests – an area larger than Denmark – are lost every year.
Nearly 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is discharged to our oceans and rivers without treatment.
Wetlands are being drained for agriculture, with some 87 percent lost globally in the last 300 years.
Present in more than 180 countries, peatlands are vital, super-powered ecosystems. Though they cover only 3 per cent of the world’s land, they store nearly 30 per cent of its soil carbon.
09 DEC 2021
UAE Leadership in the Energy Transition and Commitment to Net Zero
By Cornelius Matthes, Chief Executive Officer, Dii Desert Energy
With the recent announcement to commit to net-zero by 2050, the UAE once again shows leadership in the energy transition. This is the first gulf state to do so and for a major oil & gas producer, the challenges to reach this objective are of course considerable. The interesting next step to watch is how this translates into a roadmap to execute, particularly for this decade.
Indeed, what will be achieved by this decade counts most, as many effects of climate change will not be possible to reverse. 2030 is the crucial date and the good thing is that the UAE in the past have shown to deliver and even over deliver, e.g. with groundbreaking solar projects at the world's lowest prices. Some of the world’s largest solar parks are already operational today in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, making the UAE one of the global centers of the energy transition.
With COP 28 now to take place in the UAE in 2023, very positive news came out of Glasgow. Again, a lot is expected to happen until then. But most importantly, we saw the other GCC countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain actually already followed suit, committing to net zero by 2060 respectively, with Saudi Aramco doing the same by 2050. All really exciting news with hopefully more to come soon, including a clear roadmap for this decade.
Chief Executive Officer
Dii Desert Energy
08 DEC 2021
Need to Know: World Soil Day
By United Nations
Naturally saline soils may support rich ecosystems, but natural processes such as droughts and human activities, especially improper irrigation, can increase how many salts are in soils, a process that is called salinization. Soil salinization breaks down our soils and reduces their ability to help our food grow.
Soil salinization and sodification are major soil degradation processes threatening ecosystem and are recognized as being among the most important problems at a global level for agricultural production, food security and sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions.
Salt-affected soils have serious impacts on soil functions, such as in the decrease in agricultural productivity, water quality, soil biodiversity, and soil erosion. Salt-affected soils have a decreased ability to act as a buffer and filter against pollutants. Salt-affected soils reduce both the ability of crops to take up water and the availability of micronutrients. They also concentrate ions that are toxic to plants and may degrade the soil structure. It is estimated that there are more than 833 million hectares of salt-affected soils around the globe (8.7 percent of the planet).
World Soil Day 2021 (#WorldSoilDay) and its campaign "Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity" aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, fighting soil salinization, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health.
About World Soil Day
World Soil Day (WSD), held each year on December 5, is the United Nations Observance that celebrates healthy soils for a food-secure future.
An international day to celebrate Soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform. The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly designated December 5, 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.
Below are 10 key facts about soil:
• Soil is a living resource, home to more than a quarter (25%) of our planet’s biodiversity.
• Up to 90% of living organisms live or spent part of their lifecycle in soils, yet we know only 1% of this hidden universe.
• Soil biodiversity is an essential component of soil health. Healthy soils produces more nutritious and safer food: 95% of our food comes from soils.
• Soils organisms help soils store carbon and reduce GHG emissions.
• Soil biodiversity contributes to the remediation of soil pollution by breaking down contaminants.
• Soils are vast, vital pharmacies, with almost all of the antibiotics that we take to help us fight infections having been made using soil micro-organisms?
• In just 3 inches of soil, there are 13 quadrillion living organisms, weighing 100 million tonnes.
• There are more organisms in one gram of healthy soils than there are people on Earth.
• An earthworm can digest its own weight in soil every 24 hours: 50% of the planet soil passes through the gut of earthworms each year.
• Soil organisms process 25,000 kg of organic matter in a surface area equivalent to a soccer field, which is the weight of 25 cars.
05 OCT 2021
Need to Know: 10 key facts about World Food Day
By United Nations & the Food and Agriculture Organization
A sustainable agri-food system is one in which a variety of sufficient, nutritious and safe foods is available at an affordable price to everyone, and nobody is hungry or suffers from any form of malnutrition. The shelves are stocked at the local market or food store, but less food is wasted and the food supply chain is more resilient to shocks such as extreme weather, price spikes or pandemics, all while limiting, rather than worsening, environmental degradation or climate change.
In fact, sustainable agri-food systems deliver food security and nutrition for all, without compromising the economic, social and environmental bases, for generations to come. They lead to better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all.
World Food Day takes place on October 16 , and is one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar, with hundreds of events and outreach activities taking place across 150 countries. See below for 10 key facts around global food issues.
- More than 3 billion people (almost 40 percent of the world’s population) cannot afford a healthy diet.
- Almost 2 billion people are overweight or obese due to a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
- Related healthcare costs could exceed US$1.3 trillion by 2030.
- The world’s agri-food systems currently employ 1 billion people, more than any other sector.
- Smallholder farmers produce more than 33 percent of the world’s food.
- The world’s food systems currently account for more than 33 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
- Approximately 14 percent of food produced for human consumption is lost each year before it reaches the wholesale market, and another 17 percent is wasted at consumer level.
- 10 percent of people are affected by unsafe food supplies contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances.
- Today, just nine plant species account for 66 percent of total crop production, despite the fact that there are at least 30, 000 edible plants.
- Our future food systems need to provide affordable and healthy diets for all and decent livelihoods for food system workers, while preserving natural resources and tackling challenges such as climate change.