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Climate change, biodiversity loss the top concerns in UNESCO survey

Many respondents in the UNESCO survey said better education is probably a key tool in the fight against concerns like climate change. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Many respondents in the UNESCO survey said better education is probably a key tool in the fight against concerns like climate change. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 1 (UPI) -- Ongoing climate change and declines in biodiversity have been identified as the world's chief environmental concerns in a new United Nations survey.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said more than 15,000 people, mostly under the age of 35, participated in The World in 2030 survey.

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As part of the survey, respondents were asked about their most pressing concerns. Apart from climate change and biodiversity decline, most identified violence and conflict, discrimination and equality and lack of food, water and housing as other top worries.

"At a time of massive disruption linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, our goal was to listen to the challenges being faced by people all over the world, and they have told us loud and clear," UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

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"Greater efforts are needed to address people's specific concerns, and multilateralism is the way to do this. Restoring confidence in multilateralism requires the implementation of concrete and impactful projects."

Many respondents answered that improvements in education are likely a prime solution to fighting many of their most pressing concerns.

"This reflects a collective conviction in the importance of education not only as an end in and of itself but as a valid and wide-reaching solution to our many and varied global challenges," the report states. "Education was also considered the area of society which will most need to be rethought in light of the COVID-19 crisis."

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On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency also sounded an alarm over climate change -- saying that new commitments, substantial policy changes and far less reliance on fossil fuels are needed to achieve environmental goals around the world established to slow global warming.

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