World Celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity
2010 Theme: Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation
On 22 May 2010, the world celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) under the theme 'Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation'.
The International Day for Biological Diversity will be celebrated in 11 countries around the world - from Tunisia to the Philippines and from India to the United Kingdom.
This year's event is a unique opportunity to raise public awareness on the importance of biodiversity for sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The theme is particularly relevant in this 2010 International Year of Biodiversity - the target year for the 2010 Biodiversity Target.
In 2002, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity committed to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.
The 2010 Biodiversity Target was later incorporated as a new target under Goal 7 of the MDGs (to 'Ensure environmental sustainability').
However, a report by UNEP researchers published on 29 April showed that the 2010 target has not been achieved, and that world leaders have instead overseen an alarming decline in biodiversity since 1970.
The report, published in the leading journal Science, says biodiversity is still being lost as fast as ever and that the pressures on species, habitats and ecosystems are continuing to increase.
Indeed, since 1970 animal populations have reduced by 30 per cent, the area of mangroves and sea grasses by 20 per cent and the coverage of living corals by 40 per cent.
The findings are the first assessment of how the targets made through the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have not been met, and are an alarm call about the urgency of taking action for biodiversity.
Protecting biodiversity is the basis of human well-being, yet biodiversity is being threatened by development choices that ignore its full value to us all, and particularly to the poorest. Reversing this negative trend is not only possible, but essential to human well-being.
Global responses to biodiversity loss and the strategies for its conservation need to be reinforced and re-tooled to reverse the current trend of continued loss.
The conservation, sustainable use, and equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity require integration across policy reforms and institutional strengthening.
Country leadership and increased support from development cooperation are critical for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.