International Day for Biological Diversity 2016

20 May 2016

Every year the International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated globally on May 22, in order to draw attention to the importance of biodiversity and its conservation as a factor in achieving sustainable development goals.

In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 55/201, proclaimed 22 May the International Day for Biological Diversity, to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The date designated for the day was chosen to commemorate the adoption of the agreed text of the Convention on Biological Diversity on 22 May 1992 during the Nairobi Conference. Every year this day is dedicated to a special theme. The theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity in 2016 is Mainstreaming Biodiversity, Sustaining People and their Livelihoods.

Biodiversity is the foundation for life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. It therefore underpins peoples livelihoods and sustainable development in all areas of activity, including economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, among others. By halting biodiversity loss, we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being.

UNESCO through the World Heritage Convention, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, as well as its Man and the Biosphere and the Global Geoparks programmes contributes to the conservation of sites with outstanding universal value, including their rich biodiversity. Its 197 natural World heritage sites, 669 Biosphere reserves and 120 Global Geoparks, covering all major ecosystems, are ideal learning sites for knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, which demonstrate approaches to reconcile biodiversity conservation and sustainable development based on sound science and local communities' efforts.

UNESCO's activities promoting international cooperation from biodiversity science to governance, taking into account cultural, educational and ethical dimensions of biodiversity related issues are therefore essential to help countries to meet this global objective on reduction of biodiversity loss.

Message from Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2016

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