The World Environment Day (WED) 2021 is celebrated with the theme
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on the 5th of June since 1972. WED is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by relevant parties in more than 190 countries. Thus, the theme for 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration”.
Ecosystem restoration means assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Healthier ecosystems, with richer biodiversity, yield greater benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of timber and fish, and larger stores of greenhouse gases.
Restoration of ecosystem can happen in many ways – for example through active planting or by removing pressures so that nature can recover on its own.
Despite its small geographical area, State of Palestine is characterized by a great variation in topography and climate. This variation is directly reflected on the distribution and diversiﬁcation of agricultural and geographical patterns and ecosystems.
The restoration of the ecosystem in Palestine is undertaken by a group of ministries and institutions, each in its field of work and specialization, through the implementation of projects and activities that contribute to the restoration of the ecosystem.
The Agricultural Sector
The restoration of the ecosystem in the agricultural sector is represented by the increase in the area of forests and cultivated lands, according to the Ministry of Agriculture data. Hence, the annual increase in the area of cultivated land reached 7,900 dunums during the year 2019, and it is expected to increase this area through reclamation and rehabilitation programs and greening projects to 9,671 dunums during the year 2021.
This contributes to improving the current status of the ecosystem, restoring it and limiting its degradation. In addition, the area of the new green areas that will be increased annually is about 2,000 dunums.
The wastewater treatment process greatly contributes to restoring the environmental systems. According to the data of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) the percentage of the amount of treated water inside Palestine was about 12% of the produced wastewater during the year 2019, and this percentage is expected to increase during the year 2021 to 15% through establishing wastewater treatment plants and improving the efficiency of the already existing stations.
This increase could not have been achieved without increasing the number of treatment plants, which are scheduled to increase from 10 stations in 2019 to 11 stations in 2021.
In order to contribute to the restoration of the ecosystem, it is planned to increase the area of agricultural land irrigated annually from treated wastewater by around 1,800 dunums during 2021, according to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Waste Sector
Effective management of the waste sector contributes significantly to restoring balance to the ecosystem. Hence and for this purpose, the competent authorities have given great importance to this sector in terms of sanitary landfill, recycling and treatment.
Data from the Ministry of Local Government indicate that the percentage of solid waste that is dumped in a sanitary manner out of the total waste produced in 2019 was about 98%. This percentage is expected to reach 100% in 2023.
According to the same source, and in regards to the percentage of waste that is recycled out of the total waste produced, it ranged from 1.5% in 2019 to 10% during 2023.
According to the Environment Quality Authority data, the percentage of hazardous waste that is treated out of the total waste produced reached 2% during 2019, , where this percentage, according to the data of the Environment Quality Authority and the Ministry of Local Government, is expected to reach 10% by 2023..
The Biodiversity Sector
The biodiversity sector is the sector that is directly affected by the imbalance of the ecosystem, as the number of animal and plant species that are in danger of extinction increases as well as the increase of the invasive species that threaten biodiversity.
For this purpose, the national authorities and institutions concerned with environmental protection have given importance to rehabilitating natural reserves to contribute to restoring the balance of the ecosystem.
The number of natural reserves that have an approved and activated management plan reached 4 reserves in 2019 and it is expected to reach 10 reserves in 2023, as 2 reserves are expected to be added every year during the period 2021-2023 according to the data of the Environment Quality Authority.
1. The strategic results framework of the National Development Plan (2021-2023), Presidency of the Council of Ministers, April 2021.
2. World Environment Day website: https://www.genevaenvironmentnetwork.org/world-environment-day/
3. A Study prepared by CESVI in cooperation with Ministry of Local Government, under the title: SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY West Bank including East Jerusalem & Gaza Strip. September, 2019.