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.
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.
European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo today announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity. During a virtual meeting last week, the leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries, and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU under section 232.
Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights. On the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), the European Union reaffirms its strong commitment to respect, protect and promote the full and equal enjoyment of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
Another year of quasi-confinement did not stop the EU and all its offices around the world from marking Europe Day in all its glory with several innovative activities online to touch all our senses! Shades of blue and yellow adorned landmarks worldwide, the sound of music filled our homes, and our eyes feasted on an array of photographic exhibitions and movie screenings. Our brains were also put to the test with a number of quizzes, and kids enjoyed online games to their hearts’ content. Our taste buds also thanked the chefs who offered online cooking classes, and we even got to go on a trip to space!