The International Day for Biological Diversity - 22 May 2005

Message from the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan

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Message from the United Nations Environment Programme , Klaus Toepfer

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Ministerial Statements

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Background

The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IBD, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.

Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World

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Introduction

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity, to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Biodiversity is the source of the essential goods and ecological services that constitute the source of life for all. The celebration each year of the International Day for Biological Diversity is an occasion to reflect on our responsibility to safeguard this precious heritage for future generations.

As announced by Hamdallah Zedan, the Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the theme for International Day for Biological Diversity 2005 is:

Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World.

The world is changing faster than ever before. Growing human populations and expanding consumption are placing great pressure on biological Diversity. This year’s theme for IBD reminds us that, in addition to providing the physical conditions for all life, biodiversity also plays an important role in protecting life and making it resilient to the pressures brought about by change.

An additional focus for 2005 – the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

The theme is also especially relevant for this year in the context of the launch of the biodiversity synthesis report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. This five-year programme, initiated by the Secretary-General, studied the relationship between ecosystems and human well-being. The reports findings underline the importance of biological diversity in providing concrete services upon which human life depends, including all important security and provisioning functions. In 2005 the celebrations sponsored by the Secretariat for the International Day for Biological Diversity will coincide with the launch of the Biodiversity Synthesis Report.

As part of the activities marking this important occasion, on May 19, 2005 in Montreal, Canada, the Secretariat will hold a press conference followed by a reception and will co-sponsor, with McGill University, a seminar aiming at providing an in-depth discussion of the report and its relationship to science, and policy. The participation of some of the authors of the report is expected.

The Secretariat would like to encourage Parties to hold celebrations to commemorate IBD Day and as part of these activities, to sponsor your own launches of the Millennium Assessment report.

To facilitate the organization of activities, the Secretariat has created this outreach kit, which contains key messages and suggested activities that can help celebrate the day, while also drawing attention to the findings of the synthesis report.

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  • United Nations Environment Programme