International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilise political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. Given the importance of public education and awareness about biodiversity, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually on May 22.
Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and micro-organisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species; for example: between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock, and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kinds of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).
Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilisations. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Over 80% of the human diet is provided by plants. As many as 80% of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-based medicines for basic healthcare.
Loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses – diseases transmitted from animals to humans – while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by the coronavirus.
Biodiversity Day allows us to re-examine our relationship to the natural world. Over the years, themes have brought to our attention issues affecting biodiversity, or specific categories of biodiversity. This year’s theme takes a slightly different route in messaging, in that the theme is “Building a shared future for all life”. This year’s celebration brings awareness to the necessity of the earth as a global village, and the need to think and act strategically for the security of the future of our planet. The slogan was chosen to continue building momentum and support for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to be adopted at the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15).
As the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances, we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter, and energy; just to name a few.
While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.
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. To achieve this, it would take the effort of everyone to build, and everyone with the shared value to promote a sustainable future for all.
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