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Theme for World Environment Day 2021: Restoring Our Ecosystems

Marking the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This year’s World Environment Day will be hosted by Pakistan.

In the UK and beyond, Society for the Environment champions World Environment Day – a UN initiative which takes place each year on the 5th June. The global awareness programme shines attention on a particularly pressing environmental theme, providing a platform for global education and inspiration, and creating a legacy of action up to, including and beyond the 5th June.

UN Environment calls upon the general public, educators, businesses and governments to take action to protect our environment. Working alongside our key partners, SocEnv amplifies this call to action with a supporting awareness campaign, providing activity ideas and inspiration for how each and every person can help to improve our environment.

So, what is the UN Environment global theme for World Environment Day 2021?

Restoring Our Ecosystems – marking the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This year’s World Environment Day will be hosted by Pakistan.

You might think that this is a problem only for global institutions and Governments. Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. Imagine if we able to increase our connection with nature, especially in cities, and through this repair and restoring our ecosystems, all around the world… That is our vision for World Environment Day 2021.

Following the announcement of the 2021 theme, we spoke to Chartered Environmentalists from across sectors to get their reflections on the importance of this theme. Read on to find out how you can get involved in World Environment Day 2021…


Firstly, Jason Reeves CEnv MCIEEM, Head of Policy and Communications at CIEEM, explains why 2021 is a year of urgent action for restoring our ecosystems:

“This year marks an important milestone for the environment (we know it should have been last year but 2020 didn’t go to plan).

In the build up to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP15 event in October 2021 – at which the world’s nations will agree a new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) – we first have World Environment Day (WED) on 5 June 2021.

WED 2021 marks the launch of the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (#GenerationRestoration). The GBF leads on to each nation having to implement meaningful changes at a national and local level to restore nature, part of which is making real short- and long-term changes to reverse the decline of nature.

Recent reports, including the Dasgupta Review, show just how much we rely on nature to support people, communities, and economies. Linked to nature restoration is addressing climate change. These two global crises are inextricably linked and the best way to reverse the effects of climate change is to restore nature through nature-based solutions.

As environmental professionals it is our role to proactively work to restore nature, but our role is also to educate and enthuse others about nature, its value to all of us, and how we all have a part to play.”


Dougal Driver CEnv, Vice Chair of Society for the Environment and CEO at Grown in Britain, agrees:

“There are few corners of the world and probably none in the United Kingdom that are not touched by the human hand. Unfortunately, we have a habit of intervening with ecosystems in a less than helpful way. It is therefore a duty for us to help put damaged ecosystems back onto their natural journeys – so that they can not only survive but thrive.

If we are to restore our ecosystems, the role of environmental professionals is vital for two reasons: the impact of our work to protect the environment, but also going beyond that to our role in providing inspiration and leadership; showcasing effective science-based actions that others can take to help meet this challenge.

Ecosystems exist not only at a global and national scale, but also regional and local. This means that everyone can make a difference through our everyday actions and choices to repair, expand, support and, if necessary, replace damaged and degraded ecosystems. Let us use World Environment Day as a catalyst for action by all.”


Martin Ballard CEnv, Group Head of Environment at Willmott Dixon Holdings, reflects:

“Despite the challenges for nature, 2020 shows that there’s hope we can learn to live with nature. It’s been tremendous to see families getting outdoors together, in their local areas, and when able, exercising with friends. People are talking about what they’ve seen in their local area or done in their gardens. Using the WED20 Biodiversity resources provides a springboard for WED 2021.

What’s been gained in the last twelve months could become the new norm for the next twelve years and more, if we hold onto what we’ve gained. Making space for and living with nature is possible; it’s been great to see and hear people recognising the benefits for their mental health and wellbeing; taking more exercise and enjoying the wildlife within the built environment.”


The last word goes to Martin Gettings CEnv, Director – Sustainability at Canary Wharf Group:

“Global ecosystem restoration may be perceived to be far away: the forest, the peat bog, the ocean, the river, the mountain, but our connection to all this nature starts with us, in our cities, with the products we buy, the choices we make, the way we live our lives.

We are ALL connected to nature and we can all help to restore global ecosystems. This is a 10-year plan, we can all play our part, and as environmental professionals we want to help everyone to be able to do just that. Now is the time, and we might just change the world! Join us in the lead-up to and during World Environment Day 5 June 2021 – as together we launch the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”


Further information

SocEnv Ecosystem Restoration Hub 2021 SocEnv Awards | Video Series World Environment Day