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UN chief urges stopping vandalizing Earth

"As the focus of this year's world day reminds us, we must be 'United for Land,'" UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "Governments, businesses, academics, communities and more must come together and act."

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A farmer plants corn seeds on the dry bed of plantation field at Klewor village in Boyolali district, Central Java, Indonesia, on July 24, 2023. (Photo by Bram Selo/Xinhua)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for action to stop vandalizing the Earth as nearly 40 percent of land across the planet is degraded with more acres lost every second.

“Every second, around four football fields of healthy land are degraded,” the UN chief said in a video message for the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, marked annually on June 17.

“The security, prosperity and health of billions of people rely on thriving lands supporting lives, livelihoods and ecosystems, but we’re vandalizing the Earth that sustains us,” Guterres said.

“Healthy land not only provides us with almost 95 percent of food eaten around the world, but so much more. It clothes and shelters people, provides jobs and livelihoods and protects communities from the worsening droughts, floods and wildfires,” he noted.

“As the focus of this year’s world day reminds us, we must be ‘United for Land,'” he said. “Governments, businesses, academics, communities and more must come together and act.”

“We know what we need to do,” the UN chief said. “It’s set out clearly in the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). As we mark the 30th anniversary of the convention, the world must dramatically pick up the pace of implementation.”

To do this, he pointed to building momentum towards the UNCCD Conference of States Parties (COP16), scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2024, and ensuring young people are heard in the negotiations.

“Together, let’s sow the seeds for a thriving future for nature and humanity,” Guterres said.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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