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5 June - World Environment Day in light of generation for the Ecosystem Restoration

World Environment Day is one of the oldest of the world days designated by the United Nations and its environmental programme. This is the 47th World Environment Day, and it features an additional slogan: Reimagine, Recreate, Restore - Generation for Restoration (#GenerationRestoration). The aim is to encourage people through initiatives and best practice to help preserve the environment. "We are a generation that has to hold out our hand to nature," according to the creators of World Environment Day.

Nina Lozej

Planinsko polje

United Nations: "Biodiversity is one of the essential foundations of human development"

This year's World Environment Day is a turning point, because the UN Environment Programme is launching the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration global initiative. This coincides with warnings from scientists that the coming decade is critically important for the conservation of many animal and plant species and adaptation to climate change. The most important ecosystems include wetlands, forests and coral reefs. Their decline has a direct impact on the lives of almost half of the world's population. Fish make up one fifth of animal protein supply for about 3 billion people. More than four fifths of the human diet is plant-based. In developing countries, 80 per cent of people live in rural areas and their health is based on vegetation. Urban areas make up only one per cent of the earth's surface, yet are home to more than half of the world's population. Functional urban living environments can contribute to cleaner water and cleaner air, create cooler islands in a heated urban environment, protect the quality of life against a variety of risks, and provide quality recreation and play. Urban environments are also home to a wide variety of animal and plant species. These are just a few facts that testify to the remarkable contribution of biodiversity to sustainable development and the quality of life for humankind.

More than half of Slovenia designated as area of special importance

According to the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO), Slovenia covers less than 0.004% of the entire Earth’s surface and 0.014% of its land surface, however, more than one per cent of all known species on Earth and over two per cent of land species live in its territory. With such a large number of species in such a small space, Slovenia is classified as one of the richest European and even world countries in terms of biodiversity. The Slovenia's flora and fauna is also among the richest in the EU. For generations the nature in Slovenia has been conserved to such an extent that areas of special importance cover more than half the country (56% – protected areas, valuable natural features, the European network of nature protection areas Natura 2000, ecologically important areas). Slovenia's nature is especially protected in 50 nature parks (1 national, 3 regional and 46 landscape parks), 56 nature reserves, one integral nature reserve and 1,161 natural monuments.

There are about 22,000 animal and 3,500 plant species in Slovenia, of which more than 2,000 species are on the red list (of endangered plant and animal species), while more than 800 animal and more than 300 plant species are protected. Within the world's largest network of nature protection areas Natura 2000, 205 animal and 27 plant species and 60 typical natural environments are protected in Slovenia, which is slightly more than 10% of all Natura 2000 species and typical natural environments in the EU. The condition of animal and plant species in Slovenia is similar to the European Union average.

EU Green Week dedicated to zero pollution

The implementation of the zero pollution strategy as the foundation of the European Green Deal for a sustainable European economy will be the main topic of this year's EU Green Week. This central environmental event of the EU starts on 1 June with a conference and exhibitions and ends with the World Environment Day. In addition to the meaning and the role of biodiversity and ecosystems, which are joined in the largest network of nature protection areas Natura 2000, the speakers will present initiatives, solutions and proposals for achieving the zero pollution objective in health care, production and consumption. In light of the current economic situation, these are especially important for the recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Biodiversity  and the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU

The European Green Deal identifies biodiversity as one of the main priorities for the Commission and the EU member states in the coming decade and formed the basis for an EU biodiversity strategy that will run until 2030. This is an important element in the recovery of the European economy after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic that significantly contributes to nature protection, human health and the strengthening of our society's resilience with regard to potential future pandemics.

During the Council Presidency, as one of the richest EU member states in terms of biodiversity Slovenia will work with the Commission and other member states to make the EU the global leader role on biodiversity. Numerous international events will take place during the Slovenian Presidency, including the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15 CBD) in October 2021 in China. As the presidency member state, Slovenia will advocate the implementation of measures from the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, which stresses the promotion of all activities to preserve biodiversity. To this end, Slovenia will, above all, support a better management of existing protected areas, including the largest network of nature protection areas Natura 2000, and the protection of wild pollinators.