World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5 and aims to inspire people to take action to preserve and enhance the environment.

The theme for 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration”, which can take many forms such as rewilding gardens, cleaning up rivers and coasts, growing trees, greening cities, and changing diets.

What Ecosystem restoration means

Ecosystem restoration means helping the recovery of ecosystems that have been destroyed or degraded, and conserving the ecosystems that are still intact.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations shared a video this week where he said, “We still have time to reverse the damage we have done. That is why, on this World Environment Day, we are launching the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”

“This global movement will bring together governments, businesses, civil society and private citizens in an unprecedented effort to heal the Earth. By restoring ecosystems, we can drive a transformation that will contribute to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Guterres.

Video credit: UN Environment Programme

World Environment Day spotlights Dominica’s Commitment to Climate Resilience

Climate resilience is high on the list of Dominica’s government priorities and is intrinsically linked with the future of the nation’s economy. The Nature Isle is prone to hurricanes, and after 2015’s Storm Erika and 2017’s Hurricane Maria, the small island has aligned itself with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and committed itself to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation.

The Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD) was launched in March 2018, and has a four-year mandate that will drive the country to develop a full Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan (CRRP).

Becoming resilient goes beyond planning for extreme weather events, it is also about community engagement and strong communication. Through community engagements and projects, CREAD invests in strengthening Dominica’s collective consciousness by fortifying how each citizen sees themselves in the larger scheme of the country’s development goals, and what each citizen deems to be their personal responsibility. This also shares knowledge, ideas, attitudes and actions of the nation, and belief in the value of unifying to becoming climate resilient.

Over the last few years, Dominica has built over a thousand weather-resistant homes for its citizens in what is known as Dominica’s ‘Housing Revolution’, which will transform the island and restore the lives of many, while preparing for the future.

“This is a mission that we are going to continue until every family in the country is in a comfortable home. In 2021, even more homes will be constructed all across the country,” stated Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. “COVID-19 is calling for us to create a kinder, more caring country and world. Perhaps, it should motivate us to construct a world that is more respectful of Mother Earth and the family of humanity,” PM Skerrit added.

Dominica has also invested in sustainable infrastructure like SMART schools and health centres, and is in the process of developing a geothermal powerplant that will boost the nation’s renewable energy potential. Dominicans are also encouraged to adopt eco-friendly habits by using biodegradable packaging after the Government banned single-use plastic. Much of these efforts are financed by funds raised by wealthy investors under the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.

“We’re moving more towards renewable energy and, in the next few years, we will be able to produce about 85 per cent of our energy through renewable means. We have this major geothermal project, which, in large measure, will be financed with citizenship by investment funds. We will be able to supply most of our energy [needs] from geothermal [sources],” the Prime Minister said.

The Nature Isle is at the forefront of climate change and remains focused on implementing its green agenda this World Environment Day.

“Climate change is real, and we have lived the impact and implications of climate change,” the Prime Minister added.