International Biodiversity Day Celebrates Biodiversity and Sustainable Development
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The 2015 International Day for Biological Diversity convened under the theme ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Development,' reflecting the importance of efforts made to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the relevance of biodiversity for achieving sustainable development.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) organized several events to mark the occasion on 22 May 2015, including one at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

international_day_biological_biodiv22 May 2015: The 2015 International Day for Biological Diversity convened under the theme, ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Development,’ reflecting the importance of efforts made to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the relevance of biodiversity for achieving sustainable development. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) organized several events to mark the occasion on 22 May 2015, including one at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

The Secretariat also developed a range of outreach materials to help celebrate the Day, including an information booklet on the theme of ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.’

Also commemorating the Day, the CBD Secretariat organized a ‘Dialogue on International Financing for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,’ which took place from 21-22 May and provided opportunities for Parties to: be better informed on the range of programmes and initiatives led by relevant funding institutions; and share information, experiences and perspectives, including on ways to track and report biodiversity-related funding.

Also on the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to recommit to reducing the rate of biodiversity loss particularly as the UN prepares to adopt the SDGs, noting that the SDGs and the broader post-2015 development agenda will enable the mainstreaming of biodiversity and promote transformational change in how economies and societies use and regard biodiversity.

CBD Executive Secretary Braulio F. Souza Dias argued that during this century, conserving, restoring, enhancing and using biodiversity sustainably can provide solutions to a range of challenges, including poverty eradication, food security, sustainable production and consumption, water security, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change. He added that the SDGs will not be achieved if biodiversity is not mainstreamed into broader sustainable development policies.

In a blog post, the Executive Secretary also explained that using agricultural biodiversity is essential to meeting the SDGs, why science should matter to policymakers and how, in Brazil, strong political will is putting biodiversity at the forefront of improved food and nutrition security, through the ‘Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Initiative’ (BFN). The BFN, which is being led by Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey, is the result of a crosscutting initiative of the CBD, with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Environment Programme (UNEP), and coordination by Bioversity International of the CGIAR Consortium.

A message on the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) website reiterates that resources allocated to manage biodiversity should not be considered an expenditure, but rather an investment in sustainable development and human well-being. It further notes that only when the economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services is demonstrated to finance ministries and the private sector will it be clear that biodiversity underpins the sustainability of economic systems.

Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), said that this year’s theme presents the opportunity to look at the relationship between wildlife and its conservation, on one hand, and human activities and aspirations, on the other, from a positive perspective, notably the significant contribution that migratory animals make to people’s livelihoods and culture.

Also on the Day, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) published a report on ‘Groundwater and Ecosystem Services: A Framework for Managing Smallholder Groundwater-Dependent Agrarian Socio-ecologies,’ which seeks to establish basic guidelines for the co-management of groundwater and ecosystems and the people that are dependent on them. The report’s authors argue that failure to take ecosystems into account when planning for groundwater use is “a recipe for disaster.”

The UN declared 22 May International Day for Biological Diversity in order to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The Day was first designated on 29 December in 1993. However, the date was changed in 2000 to commemorate the adoption of the CBD. [International Day for Biodiversity Website] [International Day for Biodiversity Notification] [Dialogue on International Financing for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Notification] [UN News Story] [GEF Story] [Statement of the CMS Executive Secretary] [CDB Executive Secretary Blog Post][IWMI News Story]

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