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UN Celebrates International Mother Earth Day 2014

international-mother-earth-day22 April 2014: The UN commemorated International Mother Earth Day 2014 with statements and events around the world. Mother Earth Day 2014 focused on green cities, with the aim of raising awareness on how collective action can transform cities and forge a sustainable future.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for “a global transformation of attitude and practice” to address unsustainable consumption of natural resources. Stressing fossil fuels as the principal cause of climate change, the Secretary-General emphasized action on climate change as an opportunity to “reset our relationship with Mother Earth and improve human well-being, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.” He recommended climate-smart agriculture (CSA), efficient cities, better managed and protected forests and sustainable energy for all.

Also on the Day, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) convened its Fourth Interactive Dialogue on ‘Harmony with Nature,' which explored how to integrate the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development and discussed how to reflect connections between humans and the planet in the post-2015 development agenda. Participants emphasized the role of collective action and political will in building equitable, fair and sustainable societies respectful of the environment.

Panelists discussed, inter alia: Earth system governance; policy approaches that include indigenous peoples, women, youth and the disabled; and organic farming as a model for harmony with nature. In the following discussion, UN Member States recommended, inter alia: overcoming divides between natural and social sciences; and addressing inequalities. The Office of the President of the General Assembly will release a summary of the Dialogue in the near future. Speaking at the Dialogue, UNGA President, John Ashe, said human actions, lifestyles and technologies are “irrevocably and adversely impacting nature, putting the survival of many species under threat.” He noted that many issues under consideration for the post-2015 agenda reflect the need to restore a harmonious relationship between Earth and its inhabitants, including discussions on agriculture, forests, oceans and sustainable consumption and production (SCP). He recommended promoting sustainable development and renewable energy throughout cities and communities.

Also at UN Headquarters in New York, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the UN and the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) organized a screening of the documentary 'On the Edge: Antarctica,' to celebrate the Day. Following the screening, a panel discussion took place on climate change and sea level rise.

International Mother Earth Day offers an opportunity for reflection on humanity's relationship with the planet. [Earth Day Website] [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Statement] [John Ashe Statement] [Dialogue Closing Statement] [Harmony with Nature Website] [UN Radio Programme on Harmony with Nature] [Dialogue Concept Note] [Dialogue Provisional Programme] [GFDD Website on Event] [UNRIC Press Release]