From: United Nations News Service
Published April 23, 2013 06:19 AM

UN Urges Member Nations Renew Pledges to Respect Earth

Top United Nations officials today urged the 193 Member States to renew their pledges to honour and respect Mother Earth marking the day selected by the world body to promote harmony with nature and sustainable development.

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Today is a "chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature held to mark International Mother Earth Day.

Noting this year's theme, Faces of Climate Change, Mr. Ban urged the UN General Assembly "to confront the hard truth that our planet is under threat."

He noted that unsustainable exploitation of natural resources is eroding fragile ecosystems, destroying biodiversity, depleting fish stocks by short-sighted commercial fishing and threatening marine food chains by raising the acidity in oceans.

"When we threaten the planet, we undermine our only home — and our future survival," Mr. Ban said, calling on countries to ensure that upcoming development strategies include measures to support and sustain Mother Earth.

"On this International Day, let us renew our pledges to honour and respect Mother Earth," Mr. Ban urged.

In his speech, Mr. Ban also noted the growing momentum among world leaders to support sustainable development, citing in particular the efforts of Bolivia, which adopted a legal framework that specifically protects Mother Earth, with the rights of nature included in the national Constitution, and which led the effort to create the Day.

Since 2009, the UN General Assembly has marked International Mother Earth Day on Earth Day or 22 April, expressing its conviction that, to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations, "it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth."

Planet Earth from Space image via Shutterstock.

Read more at UN News Service.

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