The Secretary-General Message on International Mother Earth Day

22 Apr 2010

On International Mother Earth Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on all governments, businesses and citizens of the world to protect Mother Earth which is vital for our sustenance, well-being and development.

Mother Earth – our only home – is under pressure. We are making progressivelyunreasonable demands on her, and she is showing the strain. For all of human history wehave depended on nature’s bounty for sustenance, well-being and development. Toooften we have drawn on nature’s capital without putting back. We are now beginning tosee the consequences of failing to safeguard our investment.Climate change and the depleted ozone layer are among the starkest examples.Biological diversity -- the incredible variety of life on Earth that sustains us -- is in rapiddecline. Freshwater and marine resources are increasingly polluted; soils and onceprolificfisheries are growing barren.

The impact of our neglectful stewardship is being felt most by the world’s mostvulnerable people: those who live on the desert margins; indigenous communities; therural poor; the inhabitants of the squalid slums of the world’s expanding megacities. Ifthey are to break out of the poverty trap and prosper, they need – at the very minimum –fertile land, clean water and adequate sanitation.

Environmental sustainability – the wise management of Mother Earth’s bounty –is one of eight Millennium Development Goals adopted a decade ago by United NationsMember States. The deadline for achieving the goals is 2015. This September, I willconvene a summit in New York to review progress towards the MDGs and develop anagenda for action – a practical, results-oriented plan, with concrete steps and timelines.Protecting Mother Earth must be an integral component of our strategy.Without a sustainable environmental base, we will have little hope of attainingour objectives for reducing poverty and hunger and improving health and human wellbeing.For these reasons and more, the General Assembly has proclaimed that each yearon 22 April we will observe International Mother Earth Day. I call on all governments,businesses and citizens of the world to give our Mother Earth the respect and care shedeserves.

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