The International Day for Biodiversity is an annual recurrence on May 22 that has become more prominent through the commitment of the UN, governments and NGOs, but is also through the efforts of indigenous populations, local communities, and individuals who are concerned about the biodiversity crisis. All these contributors bring their own innovative solutions to the global sustainable development debate. Every annual Biodiversity Day has its own particular importance – the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted at COP 15 in December 2022, brings fresh hope and impetus to the 2023 celebrations.
International Day of Biodiversity
Biological diversity is a term first coined by Walter G. Rosen in 1985. Now more commonly referred to as biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth is a complex and expanding field of scientific interest that is also important for policymakers all over the world.
In 1988, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) formed the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity, to investigate the potential need for an international convention on the subject. This resulted in the formal creation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1993 – an international treaty which established guidelines to protect biodiversity and counteract threats to it.
The CBD has participation from nearly all countries in the world, and many parts of the globe are now protected through its efforts in counteracting threats to biodiversity and aiding conservation projects.
In 2000, the UN General Assembly officially declared May 22 as International Day for Biodiversity, otherwise known as IDB.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is an agreement that must now be put into action across the globe. With this concept as inspiration, the IDB theme for 2023 is: “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity”. Convention members and stakeholders are encouraged to begin implementing the GBF on May 22, if they haven’t already started, and use the IDB as an opportunity to communicate and publicize their activities. The CBD proposes that all future IBD themes are connected to and expand upon COP themes.
Despite the technological developments of recent years, we are fundamentally dependent on healthy and fully-functioning natural ecosystems for our own essential needs, including water and food.
Social Media Campaign
The social media campaign runs from 1-22 May. Aligned with this year’s theme, it aims to inspire global action, encouraging viral usage of the primary hashtag – #BuildBackBiodiversity. A multimedia-rich Trello board will help amplify IDB messages on the social media of the CBD and over 300 partner organizations, with uploaded video messages from Good Will Ambassadors, CBD members, and the UN Youth Envoy along with Biodiversity Partner content and assets. A 22-day Instagram collaboration will involve the World Surf League, the WWF, the National Geographic Pristine Seas, and the UN Youth Envoy.
From towering forests to the depths of the sea,— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) May 22, 2023
Countless species reside, each vital to keep.
But human actions have taken a toll,
Once-thriving habitats, degrading and frail.#BuildBackBiodiversity, our duty, our mission,
Revive nature, a critical ambition.
The time is now,… pic.twitter.com/993GXsIaxc
Problems for Biodiversity Are Problems for Humanity
Our civilizations are built upon the resources provided for us by biodiversity, and a loss of this diversity is a threat to all aspects of our existence, including our health. Despite the increased awareness that biodiversity is an asset of inestimable value, certain human activities continue to pose a threat and the number of species of plants, animals, and microorganisms on the planet is being significantly reduced. The UN’s creation of the annual Day for Biological Diversity is a direct action to educate and raise awareness on this topic.
What Can I Do To Help?
Making changes to lifestyle and consumer choices is one way to support sustainable development, but one of the most effective contributions an individual can make is to support environmental non-profit organizations, which have the necessary knowledge, contacts and tools to intervene in an effective way on specific issues. Since they rely on donations and fundraisers for their operations, financial contributions and other types of participation can help immensely.
Nonprofits active in social and environmental justice include Cultural Survival, which supports indigenous people’s rights and political resilience, A Growing Culture which focuses on farmer autonomy, and Earth Justice which is the United States’ largest environmental law organization.
Conservation International works with governments and business leaders to implement real solutions to climate change related problems, while One Tree Planted works with reforestation organizations to fund planting of trees all around the globe.
In the wildlife protection category, the Jane Goodall Institute has expanded the famous scientist’s original work with chimpanzees to encompass a broader scope of intervention in nature conservation. The Nature Conservancy has been active since 1951, greening urban spaces and protecting clean waterways, while the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), best known for its work with endangered species, has expanded its operations to also include issues such as climate change.
5 Gyres Institute is a nonprofit that supports individual and collective actions against the global crisis of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, while Lonely Whale Foundation and SeaLegacy are active in ocean conservation through collective action, collaboration, education and story-telling.
In climate justice, 350.org focuses on building a zero-carbon economy. Cool Effect’s simple mission is to reduce carbon emissions, preserve natural habitats, and implement clean energy programs. Earth Guardians is a nonprofit empowering young people to bring innovative solutions to the world’s most urgent environmental issues.
Fibershed is active in educating the public about the environmental benefits of decentralized textile systems and works to connect producers to each other and with end consumers. Regenerative Agriculture Alliance is a community of people who choose to approach agriculture and food from an indigenous perspective. Regeneration International focuses on promoting the global transition to regenerative food, farming, and land management.
The CBD Secretariat provides outreach materials, including an IDB 2023 video for sharing. Suggested promotional activities include live events and social media posts, local press releases and promotional partnerships with community organizations. Links to the IDB website should be included in communications with a call to action for this year’s IDB key feature “22 Actions” campaign, while IDB branding and logos are available within the assets toolkit.