International Day for Biological Diversity - Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods

Bonn, 22 May 2016 – The United Nations has proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), commemorating the adoption of the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 22 May in 1992.  Now in its 15th year, IDB has grown to become an important commemorative day dedicated to increasing the understanding and awareness of the value of biodiversity globally.  

“The International Day for Biological Diversity is an opportunity for the global community to raise awareness on the importance of biological diversity. It is also a good opportunity to highlight the spirit of cooperation and solidarity that exists among the various international biodiversity-related treaties,"
Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Each of the seven treaties within the Biodiversity Liaison Group, whether it is CBD, CITES, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the World Heritage Convention (WHC), two International Plant Treaties, or CMS has its own specific niche. For example, CITES deals with international trade in animals and plants, Ramsar with the protection of wetlands and CMS with safeguarding migratory species in the air, on land and in the sea.

“Combined, all their efforts contribute to the common cause of securing a future for biodiversity, working together to achieve the Aichi Targets and contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Chambers.

This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity with its theme “Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods” underlines the fact that biodiversity is the foundation for life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems. Furthermore, this year’s campaign draws attention to the critical role played by biodiversity in underpinning people’s livelihoods and sustainable development in all economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. The central message being that by halting biodiversity loss we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being.

CMS and biodiversity are mutually interrelated and tightly bounded, as migratory species directly contribute to the natural system’s health.

The largest migratory populations of hoofed grazing mammals (ungulates), such as wildebeest, zebras and gazelles, are located in the African Serengeti and not only contribute to the lushness and fecundity of the entire ecosystem, but support important ecosystem services for humans such as ecotourism and climate regulation of carbon sequestration.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) migrate over large distances, connecting ocean ecosystems and cultures. The spectacular leaps of whales and dolphins above the water’s surface, as well as the sounds some species use to communicate underwater fascinate humans. In many communities there are significant cultural connections between cetaceans and humans. In many Pacific Islands, whale and dolphin watching is a growing tourist industry of importance to the region.

Among several kinds of ecotourism, wildlife watching is becoming more and more valuable for many localities: for instance the United Republic of Tanzania, in 2000, received 459,000 international arrivals and tourism receipts US$739 million, while Kenya, in the same year, received 943,000 arrivals which generated international tourism receipts of US$304 million. [Source: Wildlife Watching and Tourism 2006]

Migratory animals are too often threatened by man-made activities such as the loss, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats, barriers to their movement, poisoning (both deliberate and incidental) and unsustainable hunting and trapping. This is particularly alarming, as these species perform vital ecosystem services.

According to Dr Imperatriz-Fonseca, co-chair of the assessment and Senior Professor, “pollinators’ health is directly linked to our own well-being". Among others, insects such as the CMS-listed Monarch Butterfly, birds and bats help with pollination: their direct contribution is worth US$812 billion of annual global food production.

By working together to safeguard the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species, CMS Parties can ensure that these animals – mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and even insects – can contribute to sustainable human development, fulfilling the Convention on Migratory Species’ role as the principal partner to the Convention on Biological Diversity on issues relating to migratory species.


Credit for mosaic:
Atlantic Puffin © Nina Mikander; Pygmy Devil Rays © Guy Stevens, Manta Trust; Black-tailed Godwit © Ton van de Acker; African Lion © Luke Hunter; Shoebill © Jearu/; Bactrian Camel © Petra Kaczensky; Scalloped Hammerhead Shark © Edoardo Espinoza; Lesser Flamingo © Mark Anderson; Green Turtle © Bthv; Monarch Butterfly © Allen Montgomery/USFWS; Mountain Gorilla © Ian Redmond; Impala; Snow Leopard © Snow Leopard Conservancy; Common Dolphin © Cherylle Millard-Dawe; Saker Falcon © Tony Hisgett; Argali Sheep © Askar Davletbakov; Nathusius' pipistrelle © Suren Gazaryan; African Elephant © Melanie Virtue; Polar Bear © Peter Prokosch; Eurasian Spoonbill © Lars Soerink; Aquatic Warbler © Zymantas Morkvenas


Last updated on 30 January 2017