The theme for World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.’ This year there is a call for urgent action to restore our damaged ecosystems.
Ecosystems support all life on earth and are crucial to our survival – healthy ecosystems result in healthy people. Since its inception in 1974, World Environment Day has evolved into an international platform for increasing awareness on environmental issues.
World Environment Day 2021 coincides with the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – "a campaign to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean". The UN Decade runs to 2030 which is the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved. It is also the year identified by the UN as our last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) supports the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular, Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Guiding principles for the EIANZ’s approach to climate change policy are:
- Advocate for the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
- Action today is better than action delayed into the future.
- Governments have a key role in providing strong, clear leadership and policy frameworks that encourage rapid implementation of emission reduction strategies, the protection and enhancement of the environment, and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
- Action on climate change requires collaboration between government, business, research, not-for-profit, communities, and individuals.
- Action is required to ensure communities (especially those that are vulnerable) adapt and are resilient to the impacts of climate change.
- Mitigation and adaptation strategies require new approaches and must consider intra- and intergenerational equity and sustainability.
- While the issue is global, the solutions require actions and encouragement at local, regional, and national levels.
In conjunction with climate change, another major threat to our ecosystems is biodiversity loss. In a recent article published on International Day for Biological Diversity, the EIANZ asked what progress has been made since the last state of the environment reports in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and encouraged governments and decision makers to commit to real action.
Recent budget commitments by the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Governments
The Australian Federal Government handed down its budget in May which included $29.3 million over the next four years in response to the EPBC Act Review and $210 million to establish the Australian Climate Service. While these budget allocations are welcome, it is widely agreed that the Morrison Government continues to fall short of the investment needed to reverse the country’s climate crisis.
The 2021 Budget for Aotearoa New Zealand saw $300m allocated to progressing low carbon technology, $67.4m to implement the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, and $344m to improve climate change research capabilities. This comes after Aotearoa New Zealand declared a climate change emergency and committed to a carbon-neutral government by 2025. The EIANZ welcomes these commitments from the Ardern Government.
About the EIANZ
The Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) is a not for profit, professional association that supports environmental practitioners at all stages of their career. Since the EIANZ’s inception in 1987, we've harnessed the expertise of our members to progress environmental practice and advocate to improve sustainability outcomes. Our members come from all areas of environmental practice and work to protect, conserve and manage the environment across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Our Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP) Scheme also provides a greater level of assurance to community, government and industry of the credentials and ethical conduct of environmental professionals.