Record-Breaking World Environment Day 2024: Global Actions and Key Takeaways

Record-Breaking World Environment Day 2024: Global Actions and Key Takeaways

The 51st edition of World Environment Day was marked by a record-breaking success, featuring 3,854 official events and engaging tens of millions online. The day focused on countering three critical issues: land degradation, desertification, and drought.

Global Participation

Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted the global reach of the event, mentioning notable locations such as:

  • Times Square, New York
  • Trafalgar Square, London
  • Bus shelters and airports in cities like Beijing, Beirut, and Osaka
  • Billboards in Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Key Discussions

The discussions on June 5 centered on:

  • Restoring landscapes through tree planting and pollution control to combat land degradation
  • Emphasizing the widespread impact of land degradation, which affects over 3.2 billion people and disproportionately impacts women and the poor

Major Takeaways

Six key insights were emphasized during the event:

  1. Land’s Vital Role: Land provides essential resources but over a fifth of Earth’s land area is now degraded.
  2. Global Crisis: Land degradation, desertification, and drought are global problems, not confined to arid regions.
  3. Solutions and Actions: Simple restoration acts can transform degraded landscapes affected by climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
  4. Climate Change: Climate change and land degradation create a feedback loop, exacerbating each other.
  5. Call for Action: UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UNEP Deputy Executive Director Elizabeth Maruma Mrema urged immediate action to address climate risks.
  6. International Initiatives: Countries like the Maldives, Oman, and Bangladesh announced ambitious tree-planting and land restoration goals.

Global Initiatives and Celebrations

  • Kazakhstan: Celebrated the reintroduction of Przewalski horses to restore grasslands.
  • Saudi Arabia: Hosted the event with green-lit buildings and drone shows.
  • Brussels and Switzerland: Cities lit up in green to highlight environmental issues.
  • Seattle: Unveiled extensive street art to emphasize the importance of marine life.

Artistic and Cultural Engagements

  • Music and Performances: Special songs and performances by artists like Future Sounds and Kimmy Wangari in Nairobi, and new releases by Lost Witness and BRÏAH.
  • Celebrity Involvement: Actors Don Cheadle, Dia Mirza, Jason Momoa, and others supported ecosystem restoration efforts.
  • Youth Participation: Activities and discussions with youth in countries like Germany, Austria, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia.

Future Prospects

  • Rio Conventions: Upcoming Conferences of Parties (COP) will continue to address biodiversity, climate change, and desertification.
  • UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: A global call to action aimed at scaling up restoration efforts across terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems.


World Environment Day on June 5 is the largest international day for the environment, spearheaded by UNEP since 1973. This year’s focus on land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience aligns with the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), fostering political support, scientific research, and financial investment to enhance ecosystem restoration.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What were the three main issues highlighted during the 51st edition of World Environment Day?
    • a) Air pollution, deforestation, and climate change
    • b) Land degradation, desertification, and drought
    • c) Water pollution, waste management, and urbanization
    • d) Overfishing, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching
    Answer: b) Land degradation, desertification, and drought
  2. Which global leader delivered a powerful speech at The American Museum of Natural History on World Environment Day?
    • a) António Guterres
    • b) Inger Andersen
    • c) Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
    • d) Mohamed Muizzu
    Answer: a) António Guterres
  3. Which city unveiled one of North America’s largest collections of street art, including a mural of a humpback whale, during World Environment Day?
    • a) New York
    • b) Brussels
    • c) Geneva
    • d) Seattle
    Answer: d) Seattle
  4. What initiative did the Maldives announce during World Environment Day?
    • a) Plant 5 million trees over five years
    • b) Plant over 16 million wild seeds
    • c) Expand tree cover to a quarter of its land area by 2030
    • d) Restore degraded coastal areas
    Answer: a) Plant 5 million trees over five years
  5. Which species was reintroduced to Kazakhstan to help restore grasslands?
    • a) Siberian tiger
    • b) Przewalski horse
    • c) Amur leopard
    • d) Saiga antelope
    Answer: b) Przewalski horse