Feature Story

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to think deeply about human beings’ relationship with the natural world on which we all depend for our survival.

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Across South Africa, the COVID-19 induced national lockdown measures have had an immediate and dramatic impact. Since March 27, there has been a total border closure and non-essential workers have been asked to stay at home in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

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"Protecting nature makes me very happy in life," says Victorin Laboudallon. "We need to protect it as much as we can, so future generations can enjoy it like I did when I was a kid."

Victorin Laboudallon, frequently considered the 'Father of Seychelles Conservation,' established the Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (TRASS) in 2010.

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Mother Nature has provided us with all the tools we need to protect humanity from the violent and life-threatening spread of viral pandemics, rising seas, extreme weather, spiking temperatures, degraded habitats, uncontrolled wildfires, and other catastrophes built from the sheer avarice of the human race.

If only we would listen.

One of the best tools is the very ecosystems we are destroying. With decades of experience in the field, UNDP is now bringing some of the world’s pioneering ecosystem-based climate change adaptation actions to scale.

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As consumer demand for wild caught seafood continues to grow, so do the pressures that lead to overfishing and collapses of global fisheries. To help overfished stocks recover, as well as to safeguard those that are still within sustainable harvesting limits, both the private and public sectors have important roles to play.

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Water, essential to all life, plays a particularly important role in the lives of Tanzanians living near Mbarali River, part of the larger Rufiji River basin in southern Tanzania.

Here, farmers use water from the river to irrigate their crops. Cattle herders guide their animals to its banks to drink and graze. Fishers make a living catching fish from its waters. Still others use it as a place to wash laundry or quench their thirst.  

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The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican state of Michoacán is known around the world for an extraordinary migratory phenomenon. Each autumn millions of butterflies arrive here from the United States and Canada.

While they spend the winter in the reserve they present a glorious sight — the bright orange insects cluster together for warmth on pine and oyamel trees and the branches sag under their weight.

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UNDP-supported climate information and early warning systems projects have reached 9.6 million people in the past 12 years. As we celebrate World Meteorological Day, we explore the power of information to supercharge progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

Information is power. Information can save lives. Information is the most important tool in our global efforts to address the climate crisis.

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You may know that climate change affects water - floods and coastal storms are particular risks from higher temperatures and disrupted weather systems. But have you heard that water systems and marine life can also be climate remedies?

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Mountain peaks blanketed by clouds, cascading waterfalls, symphonies of forest sounds, hundreds of unique species of flora and fauna, and enchanting landscapes; the Dumbara, or ‘Knuckles’ mountains have it all. Located in central Sri Lanka, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the range is named for its famed peaks that resemble a clenched fist.

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