The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) cautioned that Covid 19 pandemic would not be the last crisis that the world would face unless the humans release their grip on nature. In a latest report “The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene: the UNDP has called for taking bold steps to reduce the pressure exerted on the environment and the natural world.
Pointing out that humans wield more power over the planet than ever before, UNDP Administrator Achim Steine said that it was time to redefine progress, where carbon and consumption footprints are no longer hidden.
He also said that the report was an eye opened and it clearly said that no country has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense strain on the planet. “But we could be the first generation to right this wrong. That is the next frontier for human development,” he said.
The report says “as people and planet enter an entirely new geological epoch, the Anthropocene or the Age of Humans, it is time to for all countries to redesign their paths to progress by fully accounting for the dangerous pressures humans put on the planet, and dismantle the gross imbalances of power and opportunity that prevent change.”
The report said that the resulting Planetary Pressures Adjusted Human Development Index a new global picture pained a less rosy but clearer assessment of human progress. More than 50 countries drop out of the very high human development group, which reflected their dependence on fossil fuels and material footprint.
Meanwhile Stefan Löfven, prime Minister of Sweden, host country of the launch of the report, said the Human Development Report has come out at a time when action is needed. “It emphasised the defining issues of our time such as climate change and inequalities, helps us to steer our efforts towards the future we want,” Lofven said.
It also said that there were estimates that the poorest countries in the world could experience up to 100 more days of extreme weather due to climate change each year by 2100.
The UNDP report maintains that reforestation and taking better care of forests could alone account for roughly a quarter of the pre-2030 actions to stop global warming from reaching two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
The report showed that inequalities within and between countries, with deep roots in colonialism and racism, only meant that people who have more capture the benefits of nature and export the costs. This only burdens the opportunities for other people who have less. It pointed out that indigenous people continued to face hardship, persecution and discrimination. Moreover, these people have no voice in decision-making, the report added.
The UNDP in the report points out that discrimination based on ethnicity leave the communities severely affected and exposed to high environmental risks such as toxic waste or excessive pollution.
It said that public action could address the inequalities. This means increasing progressive taxation and protecting coastal communities through preventive investment and insurance. This would safeguard the lives of 840 million people who live along the world’s low elevation coastlines.