The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has been studying environment issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. The commission issued a report which calls for greater efforts to advance environmentally sustainable development in Latin America. The report is called “Millennium Development Goals: Advances in Environmentally Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The rate of deforestation in the Latin America is said to be double the global average. The report states that the region’s forest cover decreased by 7 per cent, losing nearly 69 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2005. Deforestation and degradation of forests causes almost 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; that’s more than all the world’s cars, trucks, ships and planes combined. The UN launched the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) initiative in 2008 to offer incentives to reverse the trends of deforestation in order to combat climate change.
Also between 1990 and 2005, Latin America has seen an increase of nearly 41 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement production. The UN has pledged to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and one of the most important goals is environmental sustainability. The report notes that in the world in the studied years the amount of protected areas grew and consumption of ozone-depleting substances declined. However, this result varies greatly in different geographical areas in different countries; and Latin America is behind.
Many Latin American countries have a lot to worry about, so environment sustainability might not be first on the governments’ lists. But at least the UN is calling attention to problems and providing help for the future.