World Biodiversity Day, also known as the International Day for Biological Diversity, is celebrated annually on May 22. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity and its vital role in sustaining life on Earth. The day serves as a reminder of the need to protect and conserve biodiversity for present and future generations.
The theme, this year, is ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity’ and it reflects the urgent need to move beyond commitments and translate them into tangible actions to restore and protect biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, as well as the ecosystems in which they exist. It encompasses genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. World Biodiversity Day provides an opportunity to highlight the value and significance of biodiversity in various aspects of human life and the planet’s overall health.
The Day has its roots in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. At this pivotal conference, world leaders recognised the urgent need to address the global decline of biodiversity. In light of this concern, numerous nations came together and signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on May 22, 1992, marking the establishment of this annual observance.
Conservation Awareness: It’s a day earmarked to encourage individuals, communities, and organisations to understand the importance of biodiversity conservation. It raises awareness about the threats faced by biodiversity, such as habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and unsustainable human activities.
Educational Initiatives: World Biodiversity Day promotes educational activities, campaigns, and events that aim to educate people of all ages about biodiversity, its benefits, and the need for its protection. These initiatives foster a sense of responsibility and inspire action to conserve biodiversity.
Policy and Decision-Making: The day provides a platform for policymakers, government agencies, and stakeholders to discuss biodiversity-related issues, share knowledge, and develop strategies for sustainable development. It helps shape policies and decisions that integrate biodiversity conservation into various sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and urban planning.
Sustainable Development: Biodiversity is essential for achieving sustainable development goals, including poverty eradication, food security, climate action, and the preservation of cultural diversity. World Biodiversity Day promotes the understanding that a healthy and diverse natural environment is the foundation for sustainable societies and economies.
Ecosystem Services: Biodiversity provides numerous ecosystem services that are crucial for human well-being, such as clean air and water, pollination of crops, soil fertility, climate regulation, and natural disaster mitigation. Recognizing the value of these services encourages the adoption of sustainable practices that protect and restore biodiversity.
International Cooperation: World Biodiversity Day fosters international collaboration and cooperation among countries, organisations, and communities to address global biodiversity challenges. It promotes knowledge sharing, capacity building, and joint efforts to conserve biodiversity at local, national, and global levels.
Biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.
From ecosystem-based approaches to climate and/or nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better. That is the main message from the CBD, key international instrument for sustainable development.
According to a study published in 2017, a group of researchers led by Bronson Griscom, who researches natural climate solutions at Conservation International, discovered that nature can deliver at least 30 percent of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to prevent climate catastrophe. Protecting biodiversity plays a crucial part in achieving these emissions reductions.
Events, like World Biodiversity Day helps us remind the importance of nurturing and preserving the different and vast biodiversity the nature has blessed us. Each biodiversity has its unique traits and functions. And each of them needs to be protected for the betterment of planet, and all the creatures living in it.