Minister Lina Pohl, head of El Salvador’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, 1 March 2019, before it adopted the proposed U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030). El Salvador was a driving force behind the Decade.
“President of the General Assembly, ambassadors distinguished delegates. Allow me to begin by thanking you on behalf of the Government of El Salvador for giving me the opportunity to introduce draft resolution A/73/L.76 entitled ‘United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030).’
“This proposal seeks to establish a framework for action to leverage and revitalize existing agreements and commitments, striving to ensure their coordination and synergies, thus contributing significantly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda and respecting existing mandates of United Nations agencies.
“Excellencies, the impacts of ecosystem degradation greatly affect biodiversity, land productivity, and the economies of our countries, particularly in vulnerable parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Ecosystem degradation leads to a loss of critical ecosystem services, adversely impacting the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people around the world and increasing, moreover, their vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Reversing this reality is possible, through actions in tune with nature.
“Ecosystem restoration with a holistic approach can generate tangible benefits that will increase food and water security and will further contribute to conserving biodiversity as well as toward efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change and in the area of disaster risk reduction.
“The establishment of the Decade will make it possible to create an enabling environment to facilitate and foster public awareness-raising about the importance of having functional ecosystems to ensure human well-being, economic sustainability, and sustainable development. In the same way, it will promote and facilitate greater active involvement from relevant stakeholders in activities related to ecosystem restoration, motivating and ensuring full participation and involvement of various stakeholders such as local communities, private and public sectors, academia, indigenous peoples and society in general.
“Ecosystem restoration promoted through this proposal for a United Nations Decade takes a multifunctional, landscape-based approach, looking at a mosaic of interdependent soil uses, in which ecological, economic, social and development-based priorities can find convergence, balance and complementarity. It therefore represents a cost-effective instrument to achieve the targets and objectives established by the various multilateral environment agreements, in synergy with the agendas on climate change, biodiversity, water resources, combatting land degradation and looking at risk reduction. In turn, it contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG15 on Life and Terrestrial Ecosystems; SDG2, Zero Hunger, food security and improvements in nutrition and sustainable farming; SDG6, Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG12, Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG13, Action to Combat Climate Change; and SDG14, Sub-Marine Life, Life in the Oceans and Seas.
“Excellencies, I would like to express my special thanks to all delegations for supporting this initiative and for constructively contributing throughout the process to craft this draft of a consensus-based resolution. I would also like to thank the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for their valuable technical support and their commitment and contributions to the implementation of this resolution.
“I would particularly like to thank the 61 countries that have co-sponsored the resolution to date. Moreover, I am grateful for current efforts to develop monitoring tools and protocols for ecosystem restoration activities. These will contribute to monitoring the benefits generated during this UN Decade at a national and international level.
“This, in turn, will represent a contribution to meeting the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Thus, El Salvador invites all United Nations member states to proclaim the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030).
“Madam President and Excellencies, thank you very much for your attention.”