UN warns of irreversible eco-changes
Manama, June 7, 2012
A United Nations report released in Bahrain has warned of abrupt and irreversible changes to the planet's life support functions if urgent action is not taken to 'change the ways of humanity'.
The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) by the United Nationals Environment Programme (Unep) said the world continued to speed down an unsustainable path.
This is despite more than 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve life on the planet.
The West Asia launch of the report took place in Bahrain at the Arabian Gulf University (AGU) during a ceremony attended by Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab, AGU president Dr Khalid Abdul Rahman Al Ohaly, UN resident co-ordinator and United Nations Development Programme resident representative Peter Grohmann and Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani.
The damning report warned that according to a new and wide-ranging assessment co-ordinated by Unep, several critical thresholds could soon be exceeded.
Launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit in the Brazilian capital from June 20 to 22, it assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.
These include eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment.
It said some progress was shown in 40 goals, including the expansion of protected areas such as national parks and efforts to reduce deforestation. Little or no progress was detected in 24, including climate change, fish stocks, desertification and drought.
Further deterioration was reported for eight goals, including the state of the world's coral reefs, while no assessment was made of 14 other goals due to a lack of data.
The report said if current trends continued and current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources were not reversed, the world's governments would have to preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation.
But the report said meeting an ambitious set of sustainability targets by the middle of the century was possible if current policies and strategies were changed and strengthened.
'Bahrain is doing its bit in adhering to Unep initiatives and we hope we will be in a better position than we are in the next few years,' said Rajab.
'We are in a better position than most nations in the region and will continue working towards creating an environmentally friendly Bahrain,' she added.-TradeArabia News Service