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International Day for Biological Diversity

Each year, we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, or Biodiversity Day, on May 22. The United Nations sponsors this event as a way to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues across the world [1, 2, 3, 15].

The Convention on Biological Diversity and Biodiversity Day

In the late 1980’s, the United Nations convened a series of working groups and negotiating committees to develop an international treaty to guide sustainable use of and address threats to the Earth’s biological resources. Through this process came the Convention on Biological Diversity, which the United Nations adopted on May 22, 1992, in Nairobi, Kenya [4]. The main objectives of this document are 1) the conservation of biological diversity, 2) the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and 3) the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources [5]. The Convention opened for signature on June 5, 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit and entered into force with 168 signatures December 29, 1993 [4]. There are 196 Parties to the Convention, which meet regularly as the Conference of the Parties to review and make decisions about the fulfillment of the Convention. [5, 6]. Since 2001, the United Nations has celebrated Biodiversity Day on May 22 to commemorate the anniversary of the date that the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted [1].

We’re part of the solution, in 2021 and beyond

In 2021, Biodiversity Day is organized with the slogan: “We’re part of the solution” [2, 8, 15]. This connects to the 2020 slogan, “Our solutions are in nature” and recognizes the role we have in crafting sustainable and just solutions to environmental, ecological, and social challenges [2, 15].

Official video about Biodiversity Day 2021 from the Convention on Biological Diversity.

This year’s Biodiversity Day generates momentum and support in advance of the meeting of the Conference of the Parties in October 2021 [2, 6, 14]. During this meeting, Parties will make decisions about a post-2020 global biodiversity framework towards the fulfillment of the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, where the world is “living in harmony with nature” [2, 7, 14, 15].

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Day for Biological Diversity has been moved online. In this context, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity asks you to join governments, organizations, and individuals in raising awareness via messages about the importance of biodiversity and how you can be the solution [8, 9]. Be sure to tag @UNBiodiversity and use the hashtags #BiodiversityDay and #ForNature on social media. Also check out different online events, such as the Global Biodiversity Festival.

There are also other ways for you to contribute to international biodiversity goals, even after May 22. Educate yourself and learn how to raise awareness about the value of biodiversity in nature for fostering sustainable human development on a healthy and functioning planet [3, 10, 11, 12, 15]. Make a concrete commitment in line with the reversal of biodiversity loss on the Convention’s Action Agenda tracker, then share your pledge to inspire others and increase ambition [13]!

For the most up-to-date materials on Biodiversity Day and information about biodiversity issues and opportunities, follow @UNBiodiversity on facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, and linkedin.

References

[1] United Nations General Assembly. 2001. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the report of the Second Committee. Convention on Biological Diversity. Fifty-fifth session. A/55/582/Add.2. Access here.

[2] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. Overview of the Campaign. Access here.

[3] IPBES. 2019. Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. S. Díaz, J. Settele, E. S. Brondízio E.S., H. T. Ngo, M. Guèze, J. Agard, A. Arneth, P. Balvanera, K. A. Brauman, S. H. M. Butchart, K. M. A. Chan, L. A. Garibaldi, K. Ichii, J. Liu, S. M. Subramanian, G. F. Midgley, P. Miloslavich, Z. Molnár, D. Obura, A. Pfaff, S. Polasky, A. Purvis, J. Razzaque, B. Reyers, R. Roy Chowdhury, Y. J. Shin, I. J. Visseren-Hamakers, K. J. Willis, and C. N. Zayas (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. Access here.

[4] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. History of the Convention. Access here.

[5] United Nations. 1992. 8. Convention on Biological Diversity. Rio de Janeiro, 5 June 1992. Chapter XXVII Environment. Access here.

[6] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. Conference of the Parties (COP). Access here.

[7] United Nations Environment Programme. 2020. Update of the Zero Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: Preparations for the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework. Convention on Biological Diversity. CBD/POST3030/PREP/2/1. Access here.

[8] Mrema, E.M. 2021. Notification: International Day for Biological Diversity 2021. Convention on Biological Diversity. Ref.: SCBD/OES/DAIN/MB/FD/89492. Access here.

[9] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. Messages for the International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2021: “We’re part of the solution”. Access here.

[10] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. Biodiversity Day 2021: Activities. Access here.

[11] United Nations Development Program, NBSAP Forum, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Rare. 2021. Course on Biodiversity Valuation: Communicating the Value of Biodiversity. Access here.

[12] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. Biodiversity and Nature, close but not quite the same. Access here.

[13] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. An agenda for action: Reversing Biodiversity Loss and Promoting Positive Gains to 2030. Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People. Access here.

[14] The Convention on Biological Diversity. 2021. Preparations for the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework. Access here.

[15] United Nations. 2021. International Day for Biological Diversity 22 May. Access here.

Alexis Case

Author: Alexis Case

I completed my BSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with minor in Hispanic Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Now, I study Global Change Ecology at the University of Bayreuth.
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