ICYMI: Reimagining Environmental Revival - How Can #GenerationRestoration Be Put Into Action?

10 June 2021

The United Nations launched the Decade for Restoration on World Environment Day (5 June). A rallying global call to “Reimagine, Recreate, Restore” our degrading ecosystems, the decade focuses on holistic on-ground solutions for shared environmental challenges. Against this background, UNU-CRIS organized the webinar, Reimagining Environmental Revival: How Can #GenerationRestoration Be Put into Action, on June 4.

The discussion included insights on the challenges, opportunities, and best practices linked to natural resource management across various regions of the world. Opening the event, Phillippe de Lombaerde, Director Ad Interim, UNU-CRIS, commented upon the significance of ecological sustainability in maintaining economic growth and development for communities and states. While introducing the session, UNU-CRIS Research Fellow, Nidhi Nagabhatla, shed light on the need to ensure equity and balance for #GenerationRestoration. That environmental governance is equally important as technical solutions for ecosystem restoration remained at the heart of the session.

Highlighting a case study from the Philippines, Stockholm Environment Institute’s Heidi Tuhkanen reflected on the need to root post-disaster recovery and resilience plans into local contexts. She also reiterated that plans for restoration are only as good as their implementation.

Prof. Eduardo Mario Mendiondo, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil emphasized the requirement and potential to build back better with a focus on urban landscapes, environmental health, and water systems. He also discussed the role of green bonds and finance in fueling restoration initiatives.

Underscoring the role of big data in transboundary water challenges, Dr. David Katz, University of Haifa, Israel, noted the undeniable role of youth, technology, politics, and society in harnessing the full potential of technology.

Prof. Dr. Aysegul Kibaroglu, MEF University, Istanbul, Turkey stressed the massive potential of water diplomacy in driving ecological restoration. In doing so, she highlighted the need to enhance multilateral collaboration with and among informal institutions like NGOs, academia, and think tanks. She also emphasized the need for multilateral agreements among energy, agriculture, environment, and health sectors.

Makasa Looking Horse, Indigenous Youth Leader (Ohenagnos Project Six Nations, Canada) and McMaster University, emphasized the crucial role of indigenous youth communities in the management and preservation of natural resources like water while simultaneously highlighting the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former school in Canada pointing to the loss of local and indigenous knowledge.

In the closing remarks, the panelist emphasized that innovation, participation, evidence-informed policy, and integration are among the enabling factors to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of natural resources worldwide. 

The recording for the session will be available at a later date.