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Extraordinary collaboration is succeeding where national and international government action alone has so far failed

Almost fifty years ago, the first Earth Day helped to trigger a worldwide environmental people’s movement that now engages more than 190 countries and a billion people annually.

April 22 is Earth Day and the theme this year is protecting endangered species. Beyond the beauty of the coral reefs, the majesty of whales, and the lovability of baby sea turtles, these species maintain ecosystems that are vital to our way of life. Nothing in the world exists on its own.

The global commons are being pushed to breaking point, so coalitions are forming to protect them and to build lasting prosperity

My country, Japan, was long dependent on fishing. In the past, every fisherman in a coastal community would be tempted to catch as much as possible. When everyone did so, the fish – the village's common shared resource – disappeared. The result? Poverty and misery for everyone.

Forests are integral to our lives in complex ways that we are only beginning to understand. From reducing stress to carbon sequestering and climate regulation, they play a large role in our health and our planet’s health.

On International Women’s Day, GEF is celebrating women’s unique role in and contribution to safeguarding the global environment.

Addressing inequalities in areas like control over natural resources and participation in decision-making contribute to greater gender equality, help women play more substantial roles in environmental sustainability, and ultimately strengthen environmental projects.

“My sister is the one who got the finance degree and worked on Wall Street. When I finished school, I moved to Borneo to save the rainforests and orangutans.”

I was joking at a recent meeting on financing of commodities supply chains organized by the GEF’s Good Growth Partnership (GGP). It was a gathering on sustainable forestry and other topics well within my area of technical expertise but the finance terminology being thrown around made me feel out of my depth.  

Lowland and swamp forests, forest savannas, and the mighty Congo river make up the 500 million acres of the Congo Basin, the second largest tropical rainforest on the planet. When standing below the trees, the vaulted canopy of leaves blocks out most of the sunlight and traps moisture making a trek along the forest floor dark as night, and very wet.

The world’s first-ever Virtual Climate Summit will take place tomorrow, November 22, to renew political momentum in tackling climate change.

Our actions today have never had a bigger impact on our future than they do now. Under this premise the Our Ocean Conference 2018 was held in Bali this week to further global action on maintaining the sustainability of our oceans. Millions of people depend on ocean for their lives and livelihoods. But the future of the planet itself is also directly dependent on its health, which is showing unprecedented strain from the impact of human activities.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) faces a demanding yet seemingly attainable task: to help countries foster a transformation in how individuals, communities, and businesses use and protect the natural word. But nothing less will suffice if we are to meet pressing environmental challenges and safeguard the global commons.