World Environment Day Fact Sheet
‘Connecting People to Nature’, the theme of World Environment Day 2017, highlights the vast benefits, from food security and improved health to water supply and climatic stability, that natural systems and clean environments provide to humanity. It also encourages us to get outdoors and appreciate those benefits first-hand, including the beauty and diversity of the natural world that surrounds and sustains us.
Today, the natural capital that supplies those benefits is at risk from unsustainable development such as the largescale conversion of forests and wetlands for agriculture, the pollution of soil, water and air, resource-hungry production and consumption and poor urban planning in our fastgrowing cities.
Promoting awareness of the importance of functioning ecosystems and the services they provide, and safeguarding them for future generations, are critical to achieving many aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Central to achieving those goals as well as targets set under the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Biodiversity Action Plan (2010-2020) is the global network of protected areas. Expanding and improving the effectiveness of this network will be vital if we are to succeed in safeguarding and enhancing our shared environment in the decades to come.