The publication of this latest review of the work of UN Environment falls in the 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While the right to a safe and healthy environment is not explicit in that landmark document, environmental sustainability is essential for global equity and many of the rights and freedoms listed in the Declaration, not least the rights to life, liberty and security. When the environment is compromised, lives are often endangered and people’s opportunities for better standards of living are profoundly curtailed.
Throughout the past year, UN Environment campaigned on many fronts against the spiralling pollution of air, water and land around the world. Climate change, wildlife crime, micro-plastic pollution and land degradation are just a few examples of environmental ills that affect the health and well-being of communities and economies, global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and even the security of nations.
The consequences of failing to sensibly and effectively manage the environment are profound and far-reaching. That is why the work of UN Environment is so important. And it is why the 193 countries of the UN Environment Assembly committed to work towards a pollution-free planet. I commend this annual report to all who believe that attaining our fundamental rights entails clean air, healthy oceans, resilient ecosystems and a global environment managed sustainably for the benefit of people and planet.