“I have never gone to school because my parents do not have resources”, says Ruth, a 14-year old girl from Cameroon. "I am aware of the dangers down there in the mine, […] but I do not have another choice”. COVID-19 exacerbated the root causes driving children like Ruth into work. 2021, the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, is the time to redouble our efforts to get back on track
World Oceans Day reminds us of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere. Thousands of sea animals are killed each year as a result of marine pollution. Almost one third of reef forming corals, and more than a third of marine mammals are now threatened with extinction. The disappearance of tropical coral reefs also threatens to destroy the livelihoods of half a billion people. Together we can all try to protect our ocean.
We have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystems way too long. The world loses forest the size of a football pitch every three seconds. Pollution compromises ecosystems and triggers biodiversity loss as never before. World Environment Day comes just one day after the 2021 edition of the European Green Week, an opportunity to bring people together to find solutions and concrete actions to tackle pollution once and for all, making the ambition for a zero-pollution and toxic-free environment a reality.
On the International Day of UN peacekeepers, we honour the many men and women, many of them young, who serve in UN peace operations around the world, with a particular focus on those who lost their lives to protect our future.
Our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter, energy... all these depend on healthy and vibrant ecosystems, no matter the progress in technology. Biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better. Yet, while there is a growing awareness that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, a number of species is still being significantly reduced by certain human activities. Human action has significantly altered three quarters of the land-based environment and two thirds of the marine environment. On World Biodiversity Day we are reminded that we humans are part of the solution to this problem.
Leaders of the G20 committed today to a series of actions to accelerate the end of the COVID-19 crisis everywhere and better prepare for future pandemics, at a summit co-hosted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, as G20 chair.
The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is something special: a celebration of the multitude of ways in which art enriches our lives, be it with music, poetry, dance, cinematography - the variety seems endless. This occasion is also an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity.
On the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, we underline the central value of cultural diversity for the European Union. Europe is unthinkable without its cultural richness, and our societies are all the more vibrant because of it. The European Union is committed to preserving and promoting culture, and making it accessible to all, both in the EU and globally. The EU continues to promote mutual understanding among cultures, including as part of reconciliation and integration efforts, and to ensure that fundamental freedoms and human rights are upheld. Our culture, our history, and the lessons we draw from it, should serve as a source of inspiration for building a just and peaceful future.
On 21 May 2021 in Rome, the European Commission and Italy, as chair of the G20, will co-host the Global Health Summit.
The Summit is an opportunity for G20 and invited leaders, heads of international and regional organisations, and representatives of global health bodies, to share lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop and endorse a ‘Rome Declaration’ of principles.