Earth Day Italia, #OnePeopleOnePlanet
The Earth Day was created in 1970 in the United States to give voice to the emerging environmental awareness and address the "issue of survival" of both mankind and our planet. Today, the Earth Day involves one billion people and 75,000 organisations in 193 countries.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic is making mankind more aware of the uniqueness of the Planet on which we all live (OnePlanet), its fragility and vulnerability, linking the health of the world population to the health of the ecosystems. Human health is not possible without healthy ecosystems (OneHealth). By now, we all know how spillover and zoonosis mechanisms have created a direct link between destruction of natural forest ecosystems and pandemic.
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) is directly involved in the fields of prevention and environmental protection, with initiatives aimed at the natural conservation of flora, fauna, as well as terrestrial and aquatic habitats, at the same time promoting sustainable tourism (in Albania) and measures related to the use of rainwater (in Sudan). Some examples of the measures (adjustment and mitigation) in response to climate change are reforestation (in Kenya) and rangeland management projects (in Tanzania), in order to preserve the local or regional hydrological cycle and optimise water resources for irrigation, as in the case of the agro-hydraulic project carried out in the Kerio Valley, Kenya.
During the last months of pandemic, lockdown measures have affected the economy of production chains, exacerbating the food insecurity conditions of rural communities. The Agency has always been active on the food security issue, especially in those countries where undernourishment and malnutrition are endemic, such as Sudan and Ethiopia. In the latter, the Italian cooperation is promoting the dissemination of multi-purpose plant species.
In food systems based on agriculture or fishing, the length of the products value chain is a considerable economic parameter, since it affects the sustainability of local and artisanal productions, as in the case of mussels and fish production in Tunisia, where the environmental health of the agricultural or fishing contexts has a great impact on both the nutritional value of the products and, as a consequence, on their potential market at the local, urban, regional, national or international level.
In terms of human ecology, it is universally acknowledged how each environmental crisis is closely linked to a social one; therefore, the fight against poverty and the support to local agricultural economies, as in Ethiopia and Jordan, represent a primary cooperation commitment for the Agency. In Cuba, agroecology, agroforestry systems, tropical ecosystem conservation and support to small coffee enterprises have reached a perfect harmony, in which attention to people is combined with the care and/or recovery of the natural environment in which local communities live (Onepeople#OnePlanet).