LUSAKA, June 5 (Xinhua) — Zambia on Wednesday joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s World Environment Day, with the government calling for mindset and behavioral change by both older and younger generations toward the management of the environment.

Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu urged people to take a keen interest in supporting conservation and restoration measures of the ecosystem and promote proper waste management practices that will encourage reuse and recycling.

“We are a generation that can make peace with our land. So, let us make sure we undo the damage done to our ecosystems. Let us give our children and children’s children a chance of a better future,” he said.

The global theme for this year’s commemoration is “Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience,” while Zambia has localized the theme to “Accelerating Land Restoration for Drought Resilience in Zambia.”

Nzovu said the theme underlines the call for the protection and revival of ecosystems critical to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The theme is a rallying call for humanity to protect and revive ecosystems and for all stakeholders to be part of the move toward restoration of ecosystems, the minister said.

He noted that desertification, land degradation and drought are a growing threat in the world, adding that droughts are among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries.

Nzovu said that in Zambia, droughts are becoming increasingly common, triggered by natural causes such as changes in weather patterns, with 84 out of the country’s 116 districts facing the adverse effect of drought this year. He called for concerted efforts to change the current situation and identify global environmental challenges and find solutions to address the challenges.

James Wakiaga, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) resident representative in Zambia, said countries could no longer plan and act in the “business-as-usual” modes because the effects of environmental degradation are long-term and will compromise the attainment of sustainable development goals.

He commended the Zambian government and stakeholders for the steps taken over the years to reverse the trends in desertification and combat land degradation.

Wakiaga said that as a signatory to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Zambia agreed to protect and restore land and ensure a safer, just and more sustainable future, adding that the government has already demonstrated its commitment to addressing degradation and desertification.