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NAIROBI/ROME: A new UN report to coincide with World Environment Day on June 05 says the world must face ecosystem collapse and biodiversity loss if it doesn’t restore at least one billion degraded hectares of land in the next decade – an area about the size of China.

Ecosystems requiring urgent restoration include farmlands, forests, grasslands and savannahs, mountains, peatlands, urban areas, freshwaters, and oceans.

The UN says communities living across almost two billion of degraded hectares of land include some of the world’s poorest and marginalized people.

Global terrestrial restoration costs – not including marine ecosystems – are estimated to be at least US$200 billion per year by 2030. However for every US$1 invested in restoration, the report says up to US$30 is created in economic benefits.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) say humanity is using about 1.6 times the amount of services that Nature can provide sustainably.

According to UNEP executive director Inger Andersen and FAO director-general, QU Dongyu, “Degradation is already affecting the well-being of an estimated 3.2 billion people – that is 40 percent of the world’s population. Every single year we lose ecosystem services worth more than 10 percent of our global economic output, while massive gains await us by reversing these trends.”

Noting his airline’s expanding environmental efforts, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said his company’s ambition is to minimise its impact on the environment while facilitating global travel and commerce.

As a member of IATA’s carbon offset programme, the airline is contributing to the Fatanpur Wind Farm project in India, supporting 54 turbines across two districts in Madhya Pradesh that displace over 210,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from the India’s electricity grid each year.

The airline’s cargo division also supports the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce and last year launched a re-wilding programme to return endangered animals to their natural habitat.

“We recognise sustainability as a strategy to build resilience post COVID-19. We must act boldly and decisively to make necessary changes, acknowledging that it is innovation which will drive the industry forward for a sustainable future,” added Al Baker.
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