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:

Arabic Chinese English
French Spanish Russian

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

4. Suggested activities to mark International Biological Diversity Day at the national or local level

To assist Parties in planning their activities for 22 May 2004, the Secretariat has prepared a short list of suggested activities for celebration of International Biological Diversity Day and examples of such activities. More will be posted over the next weeks. Parties are also invited to submit their ideas and suggestions for models to be included. Please note that while some of these activities require a national approach, many can and should be carried out by local communities and NGOs with encouragement and assistance from the National Focal Point.

  • Designate Biodiversity and the theme of Biodiversity: Food, Water and Health for all for adoption in national parks and other protected areas for 22 May and the period surrounding that date. Organize exhibits emphasizing the importance of Biodiversity to the surrounding region and accompanied by presentations and documents. Offer free access for the day, or special admission fees to teachers, students and community groups.

  • Designate the IBD theme at agricultural and plant conservation centres, and botanic gardens, accompanied by special exhibits or special events.
    See: The CIRCLE of LIFE

  • Promote Biodiversity and the 2004 Theme as the subject for exhibits, lectures, and presentations in science museums. If there is a national announcement on a Biodiversity or CBD-related topic, consider making the announcement in conjunction with an event at a science museum, exhibition or fair
    See: events for IBD 2003 in the Islamic Republic of Iran

  • Introduce a programme of consultation on Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) to stimulate effective local action for priorities identified in the national Biodiversity Action Plan, as well as for species and habitats which are particularly cherished or valued in local areas
    See: here

  • In cooperation with local or national media, organize contests in one or more categories, such as essay, photography, art, website and poster design, dance or drama, Cooperative ventures with media may also include on-line discussions or workshops for schools, community groups and/or the public to illustrate the IBD theme, … The celebration of IBD 2003 in China made extensive use of national media to promote Biodiversity Knowledge
    See: China's celebrations in 2003

  • Organize biodiversity awareness presentations to schools and colleges by subject matter experts on the importance of Biodiversity, explaining the effects that biodiversity loss has on everyday life, and what individuals can do to help preserve the variety of life on earth. Present International Biodiversity Day posters to the classrooms, information material and/or a list of Biodiversity-related educational Website links For information about the programme organized by the Secretariat staff in 2003
    See: CBD Secretariat's celebrations in 2003

  • Promote special issues or supplements on Biodiversity in the local media. This may be easier to organize if associated with an announcement of a new programme or policy
    See: See Maldives celebration of IBD 2003

  • Build on an event related to Biodiversity and the work of the CBD, such as a workshop, book launch or conference and involve the artistic community to add another dimension and viewpoint to the event
    See: Indonesia’s celebrations in 2003

  • Create a special Website, or special pages on International Biological Diversity Day and include recommended activities for individuals and groups.
    The Biodiversity Office of Canada Website offers a thorough Planning Guide for organizers of events at: http://www.bco.ec.gc.ca/en/BiodiversityDay/PlanningGuide.cfm

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme