The theme Island Biodiversity was chosen to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.
Islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas constitute unique ecosystems often comprising many plant and animal species that are endemic—found nowhere else on Earth. They are also key to the livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of 600 million islanders—one-tenth of the world’s population. Island nations around the world are particularly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and rising seas.
Celebrations in Nairobi, Kenya
Among East African Islands the Kenya Ministry of Environment Water and Natural Resources in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC) selected Lamu, Wasini and Rusinga islands to commemorate IBD.
Lamu County is located in Kenya’s Coast Province with a land area of 6,273 km². The County covers a strip of northeastern coastal mainland and the Lamu Archipelago, which consists of numerous islands, which extend about 100km south from the Somalia border.
Wasini Island lies off the southern Indian Ocean coast of Kenya next to Shimoni. Wasini Island is one of the small islands in Kwale County with ecological significance given numerous discrete ecosystems which exist in the terrestrial and their surrounding near-shore marine areas.
Rusinga Island is located in Lake Victoria, South West Kenya within Homa Bay County and Mbita Sub County. The island is linked to Mbita point on the mainland by a causeway. Rusinga Island is 46 square kilometers and is the second largest in Lake Victoria with a highly dense population of 35,000 people.
On May 24, 2014 Kenya Ministry of Environment Water and Natural Resources is planning to celebrate IBD2014 at the three selected islands.
UNEP has been invited by KMEWNR to participate in the organization of IBD2014.