International Day for Biological Diversity
Biodiversity is the living fabric of our planet. It underpins human wellbeing in the present and in the future, and its rapid decline threatens nature and people alike. According to the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) at UNESCO, the main global drivers of biodiversity loss are climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution and urbanization. The Global Report demonstrated the responsibility of human activities in the loss of biodiversity, which amounted to 75% for terrestrial ecosystems. This assessment also indicated that solutions existed and that it was not too late to act.
To halt or reverse this decline it is vital to transform people’s roles, actions and relationships with biodiversity. Many solutions exist: UNESCO’s diverse networks, programmes and partners have observed positive and inspiring seeds of change around the world. UNESCO also accompanies Member States and their people in their efforts to halt biodiversity loss by understanding, appreciating, safeguarding and using biodiversity sustainably.
Now is time to act for biodiversity! The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
This International Day is part of the year 2021 defined as a super year for biodiversity with major events planned (and for most postponed to a later date) such as the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity or the UN Biodiversity Forum.
The theme of the 2021 International Day for Biological Diversity is “We’re part of the solution”
UNESCO’s intersectoral strategy for biodiversity is based on 3 pillars: restore the relationship between humans and nature and regenerate ecosystems; conserve the harmony of our ecosystems; and amplify the power of youth. The backbone of this strategy are UNESCO designated sites (1,121 World Heritage sites, 714 Biosphere Reserves and 161 Global Geoparks) that cover 6% of the Earth’s landmass and are key areas where people learn to live in harmony with other living species and experiences are shared for the benefit of all.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
"Every year, in late May and early June, UNESCO celebrates three major international days which are an important opportunity to consider together the three systemic pillars of climate change: biodiversity, the environment and the oceans. This year, at a time when the world has been struggling with an unprecedented pandemic for many weeks, these days are the occasion to remind us once again that it is only with a cross-cutting and ambitious approach that we can build a more ecologically-sustainable future. Of these three pillars, it is without doubt biodiversity that has been the most talked about in these recent weeks of widespread lockdown. The retreat into the private sphere and the desertion of most public spaces have temporarily blurred the sharing of space between humans and other species. "
— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2020