Environment will "continue to decline" unless we "work with nature"

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Burnt and degraded forest within Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: World Bank/Flore de Preneuf

The world's environment will "continue to decline" unless governments act and begin to "work with nature".

That's the message from the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, following the publication of what's being described as the agency's most authoritative study ever.

Under the title Global Environmental Outlook: Regional Assessments, the report involved more than 1200 scientists, from hundreds of scientific institutions and more than 160 governments.

Matthew Wells has more on the findings.

The ground-breaking study brings together six different reports which provide a detailed picture of the environmental challenges facing each of the world's six regions.

That is, Africa, the pan-European region, North America, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The broad conclusions indicate that the pace of environmental change sweeping the world is faster than previously thought, making it imperative, the report says, that "governments act now, to reverse the damage being done."

Published ahead of the UN Environment Assembly next week, the study finds that shared threats are rapidly intensifying.

In almost every region, water is becoming dangerously scarce, due to factors such as population growth, urbanization, desertification, land erosion, climate change and rising consumption levels.

"If current trends continue and the world fails to enact solutions" said Mr Steiner, "then the state of the world's environment will continue to decline".

He added that there was still time to tackle and reverse many of the worst impacts.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 58"

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