International Mother Earth Day is a celebration of the Earth and its ecosystems, which provide all of its inhabitants with life and sustenance. Observed for the third time on 22 April 2011, this day is a call to action as it acknowledges our collective responsibility “to promote harmony with nature and the Earth” in order to ”achieve a just balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations” of humanity.
The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 as the International Year of Forests. The Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the USG/UISG Secretariat in Rome has prepared a prayer service which has been translated in 17 languages, including Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Kiswahili, Indonesian, Dutch, Korean, Polish, Spanish, English and French.
The Working Group on Poverty and Climate Change of the NGO Committee on Social Development has written a statement
Since its inception in 1972, World Environment Day has been observed annually on June 5, in order to raise deeper awareness of the need to protect, preserve and enhance the environment. The theme of World Environment Day 2010 is Many Species. One Planet.
Although Earth Day has been observed on April 22 around the world for many years, it was only last year, in 2009, that the United Nations designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day (A/RES/63/278).
The United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Copenhagen from December 7-18, 2009. The call of civil society from around the world for a fair, ambitious and binding outcome of the Copenhagen Conference has been loud and clear.
A recent policy paper by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is entitled Climate change, natural disasters and human displacement: a UNHCR perspective (final version 23 October 2008). This interesting 12-page paper looks at the human side of climate change, particularly the status and protection needs of those who are most directly affected, stating:
Our experience at the United Nations for the 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference in September 2007 began with two days of preparation. During these days we learned about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which express what governments of the world have committed themselves to. We also learned about the Earth Charter, which is a parallel document prepared by the peoples of Earth, expressing what we, the people, will do.