The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, December 29 - 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 May 22, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention in 1992.
International Biological Diversity Day 2003
A different theme is chosen each year. The theme for 2003 is Biodiversity and poverty alleviation - challenges for sustainable development.
On the occasion of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan reminds the world
"Biological diversity is essential for human existence and has a crucial role to play in sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. Biodiversity provides millions of people with livelihoods, helps to ensure food security, and is a rich source of both traditional medicines and modern pharmaceuticals."
Biological diversity is essential for alleviating poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The poor are the most likely to suffer from the consequences of destabilization of ecosystems, such as floods, crop failures and loss of genetic resources.
In the spirit of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity is promoting the theme of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity as a reminder to the international community of the importance of striving towards the goals agreed upon at the Summit.
Many of the Parties to the Convention have fostered creative local public events to mark the occasion, emphasizing that governments, special interest groups, academic institutions, communities and individuals are all stakeholders and have a responsibility to conserve biodiversity and to use our biological resources in a sustainable way.
Descriptions of national and regional celebrations of International Biological Diversity Day will be posted on these pages in recognition of the Parties’ efforts and as examples to others who will be planning events in 2004.
The Secretariat encourages the Parties and stakeholders to reach out to young people by assisting teachers to develop biodiversity information and activity programs for students of all ages, by involving them in local celebrations of International Biological Diversity Day, and by publicly recognizing outstanding biodiversity-related school projects.