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Infographic - Our land. Our future. We are #GenerationRestoration.

Our land. Our future. We are #GenerationRestoration.

This year’s World Environment Day focuses on land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience. These issues are more widely connected to the triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change, which need to be resolved if we are to have a viable future on this planet.  

Read on to find out how the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the Montreal Protocol are working to protect the environment, by lessening the impact of the triple planetary crisis.   



Biodiversity is life on Earth in all its forms and variability. Healthy and abundant forests, grasslands and marine ecosystems help provide the clean air, food and water all living things need to survive and thrive.   

Forests are critical and cover 31% of the Earth. They are not only the lungs of the world but also act as vital carbon sinks helping to absorb climate warming greenhouse gases such as carbon. By controlling ozone-depleting substances, the Montreal Protocol is safeguarding the ozone layer that filters out the majority of harmful UV radiation from reaching Earth. By protecting forests from excessive UV damage, trees maintain their capacity to store carbon through photosynthesis protecting life on land (SDG15).  

It has been estimated that the world will need to raise its food production by 60-70% to feed a projected population of 9 billion by 2050. Protecting our farmlands to retain their productivity is therefore essential. While plants need sunlight to thrive, potential growth and potential crop yield would be compromised by as much as 6% were there a 10% loss of stratospheric ozone. Models estimate that without the Montreal Protocol, 50% or more loss of stratospheric ozone would have occurred by the end of this century and reducing plant growth worldwide by at least 25% by 2100. 

Close to 75% of the world’s fruit and seed crops depend, at least in part, on pollinators.  By protecting the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol helps to protect biodiversity, such as bees, crucial to pollinate our crops to ensure we have enough food to eat (SDG2). 

Ensuring farmlands continue to remain productive is also of economic and social importance. Globally, at least 2 billion people depend on the agriculture sector for their livelihoods5. Cold chains play a vital role in supporting farmers by preserving their fresh produce to sell at markets. Through the Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, countries commit to making the cold chain more accessible and also sustainable, helping to alleviate poverty (SDG1), and protecting the environment.  

Pollution, especially from chemicals and waste, has been identified as a main driver of biodiversity loss. BRS and Montreal Protocol address the use of methyl bromide to mitigate both ozone depletion and land degradation, promoting sustainable agricultural practices and protecting land ecosystems for future generations. 



Most pollutants in the air, soil and water that impact the health of ecosystems and the environment are human generated    

Efforts to disrupt illegal trade of chemicals and support the circular economy contribute to reducing pollution. Over 430 million tons of plastic waste is produced yearly worldwide, and half of all plastic produced is designed for single-use purposes – used once and then discarded.  

Waste, if not managed safely, has far-reaching adverse impacts. In 2019, plastics generated 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, equivalent to 3.4% of all global emissions. Hazardous waste also adds more stress to already fragile ecosystems and presents human health risks which will increase with more deadly heatwaves, stronger storms, and catastrophic sea level rise.  

The illegal traffic of hazardous waste amplifies these risks. Cases of illegal traffic often lead to dangerous untreated waste being dumped into the ground or waters, with little to no regard being paid to health and safety issues for the population and the enduring damage caused to the environment. At the Basel Convention COP16 in 2023, discussions on plastics waste led to the adoption of technical guidelines on plastic waste, which set out how to manage these wastes in an environmentally sound manner.   

In this context, Competent Authorities, inspectors, customs, and law enforcement authorities have a key role in ensuring that the transboundary movements of hazardous and other wastes within the scope of the Basel Convention comply with the trade-control mechanism or the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure, set up by the Convention.  

Microplastics, tiny plastic particles less than 5mm (about 0.2 in) in size, pose a significant threat to land ecosystems. They are found in textiles which are often used in fast fashion for example, which contributes significantly to pollution.  

Microplastics originate from various sources, including the breakdown of larger plastic debris and the shedding of microbeads from personal care products. Once in the environment, they accumulate in soils, where they can disrupt soil structure and moisture retention, impacting plant growth and biodiversity.   

Synthetic fibres include textiles such as polyester, nylon, elastane, and acrylic. Polyester is the most widely produced fibre globally, with a market share of 54% of total production, or 63.3 million tonnes. This is largely because it is both cheap and offers high performance properties including stretch and durability.   

While all textiles, both synthetic and natural, are subject to fiber fragmentation throughout their entire life, synthetic fibres can shed microplastics, specifically contributing to the plastic pollution crisis. Furthermore, microplastics act as vectors for transporting hazardous chemicals, exacerbating the degradation of land and freshwater ecosystems.   

Addressing microplastic pollution requires comprehensive measures, including waste management strategies, product redesign, and public awareness campaigns to minimize their release into the environment, aligning with efforts under the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions.  
The environmentally sound management (EMS) of E-waste has an enormous potential to reduce pollution and land degradation. In 2022, it was estimated that 62 million tons of e-waste was generated and only 22.3% was collected and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner, worldwide.   

Environmentally sound management of e-waste has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from E-waste, avoiding the release of refrigerants with very high impact on climate change and on the destruction of the ozone layer. It was estimated that in 2022, US$ 62 billion worth of recoverable natural resources were not extracted from e-waste, increasing land degradation and pollution, for example from Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), exposing communities worldwide.  

The Basel Convention provides solutions for the efficient and safe extraction of these resources from e-waste with its guidance on the ESM collection, repair and recycling of waste mobile phones, computing equipment, TVs, refrigerators, cooling, and heating equipment. These standards are key for the safe extraction of key minerals and metals necessary for renewable energy and digital transitions. They draw the path for a more circular economy with less impact on climate change, less pollution and land degradation. From 1 January 2025, all e-waste, hazardous and non-hazardous, moved transboundary, will require Prior Informed Consent ensuring that all transboundary movements of E-waste among Parties to the Basel Convention, will be conducted in an environmentally sound management manner and not dumped (SDG12).    



The increase in severe weather and climate shocks such as drought, extreme floods, for example, are becoming more common place and linked to climate change. The Montreal Protocol has already made a significant contribution to protecting the climate by phasing-out ozone depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), that are also very potent greenhouse gases. Modelling studies suggest that by controlling ODS emissions the Montreal Protocol will have prevented temperature increases of 4-6°C at the poles and over 2°C in the tropics by 2070 (SDG13).  

We rely on freshwater to drink and irrigate our crops, and rivers and oceans to feed ecosystems and us. UV damage to seaweed and phytoplankton, for example, which are the primary producers in aquatic ecosystems, would have had severe knock-on effects on animals across the whole food-web threatening the productivity of fisheries that are a vital source of food around the world. 

Cities account for 75% of global resource and energy use. As the planet gets warmer, more and more people will need cooling, driving up demand for energy. The Kigali Amendment to the Protocol not only encourages a shift towards low global warming coolants, but it is also stimulating improved energy efficiency in the refrigeration, air-conditioning, and heat pump sectors. Estimates suggest that the averted emissions could potentially avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century significantly adding to global climate warming mitigation efforts.  

By promoting the sustainable use of energy (SDG7), the Montreal Protocol is also contributing to SDG11 in supporting more sustainable cities and communities and sustainable consumption and production (SDG12).  

Protection of the ozone layer by the Montreal Protocol has also safeguarded the well health of communities, youth, and  gender. It is estimated that full implementation of the Montreal Protocol is expected to prevent approximately 443 million cases of skin cancer, 2.3 million skin cancer deaths, and 63 million cases of cataracts for people born in the US during the years 1890–2100 (SDG3).  

In turn, our youth play a key role in raising awareness, advocacy, and grassroots activism to promote sustainable practices. It is #GenerationRestoration that will increasingly create a sustainable and resilient planet for the future.