International Day for Biological Diversity - 22 May 2004

Message from the UN Secretary General

On the occasion of this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressing that failure to stop biodiversity loss too awful to contemplate reminds the world:

Every individual, local community, sector and organization, whether private, public, national, international or non-governmental, has an obligation and an interest in changing outlooks through education and by example, thereby helping to end thoughtless or deliberate waste and destruction.”

The complete text of the message follows:

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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: Food, Water and Health for All

Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the CBD notified all Parties on 18 December, 2003 of the theme for International Biodiversity Day 2004: Biodiversity: Food, Water and Health for all, noting that it was chosen to reflect the CBD's firm commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Mr. Zedan also underlined the importance of marking IBD in this 10th anniversary year of the entry into force of the Convention and the entry into force of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 11 September 2003.

Photo Credits

The poster for International Biological Diversity Day 2004 was conceived and created by members of the Secretariat staff. The portrayal of the three-leaf CBD logo rooted in the globe, underscores that Biodiversity’s goods and ecological services nourish all life on the planet.

Each leaf of the CBD logo illustrates an element of the 2004 theme of “Biodiversity: Water, food and health for all” underlining biodiversity’s importance in ensuring food security and adequate supplies of water, and in protecting the wide array of traditional medicines and modern pharmaceuticals that are based on the world’s biological riches.

Biodiversity is the source of the essential goods and ecological services that constitute the source of life for all. The celebration each year of International Day for Biological Diversity is an occasion to reflect on our responsibility to safeguard this precious heritage for future generations.

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.

  1. What is the importance of celebrating a Day of International Biological Diversity?
  2. How should International Biological Diversity Day be celebrated?
  3. Suggested activity at the international level
  4. Suggested activities to mark International Biological Diversity Day at the national or local level

2. How should International Biological Diversity Day be celebrated?

To paraphrase the message of UNEP concerning World Environment Day 2003:

International Biodiversity Day celebrations should give a human face to Biodiversity issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development by conserving Biodiversity; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a healthier and more prosperous future. International Biodiversity Day is a people's event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, media events, tree planting, and public events in parks, nature conservancies and botanic gardens.

Many of the Parties to the Convention foster creative local public events to mark the occasion to underline 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.

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 IBD, and by publicly recognizing outstanding biodiversity-related school projects.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme