The General Assembly on Harmony with Nature - Part 2

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22-Apr-2019 02:49:38
Delegates highlight crucial potential role of millennials in creating sustainable future, as General Assembly marks tenth International Mother Earth Day.

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Speakers Stress Vital Role of Education, Skills in Tackling Environmental Issues

Thanks to their education, millennials are much more attuned to environmental issues and can play a crucial role in creating a sustainable future, India’s representative said today as the 193‑nation General Assembly commemorated International Mother Earth Day.

He said there is no doubt that an educated and knowledgeable population, aware of its planetary footprint, is better equipped and more disposed to address Earth’s problems. Recalling that rulings by the Supreme Court of India in 1991 and 2003 made environmental education compulsory in schools and universities, he said that, going forward, non-school initiatives are required to educate rural and urban communities on the need to build resilience against natural disasters, adapt to environmental challenges and manage potential risk.

Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador), addressing the opening segment of an interactive dialogue on the commemoration, emphasized that education is the key to a sustainable future since young people must be equipped with knowledge and skills.

Also addressing the opening segment was a community rights activist advocating for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, who recalled that the people of Toledo, Ohio, voted in February and approved that local charter amendment, which recognizes the lake’s inalienable rights to exist, flourish and evolve naturally. Through the law, she said, members of the community seek to hold accountable polluters — including corporations, Governments and individuals — who profit from production- and extraction-related economic activities despite their known degradation of the life-sustaining ecosystems of Lake Erie, the source of drinking water for 11 million people. “Injustice will only triumph if we choose to remain hostage to an oppressive system of laws that support the needs of industry and greed over the very real and dire needs of this planet,” she warned.

Bolivia’s Deputy Minister for Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Forest Management and Development emphasized the need to end capitalism and forge a new system based on complementarity between people and nature.

Ecuador’s representative, recalling that his country’s Constitution was the first in the world to recognize the rights of nature, said children must grow up learning respect for animals and plants. It is also important to empower young people to make their opinions on environmental protection heard, he added, suggesting that the United Nations Institute for Training and Research provide more courses to help diplomats and others improve their knowledge of environmental issues.

The representative of Bangladesh pointed out that children are the biggest stakeholders in the fourth Industrial Revolution, emphasizing the need to reform educational systems in order to forge a stronger bond between children and nature.

Today’s interactive dialogue featured two panel discussions focusing on education and climate action. The commemoration was held in accordance with General Assembly resolution 73/235, entitled “Harmony with Nature”, which requested that the President convene an interactive dialogue to discuss the contributions of harmony with nature in ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, and to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how they interact with the natural world in the context of sustainable development.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 23 April, for a plenary meeting on the prevention of armed conflict.

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2381815
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2382006