Communication, Education & Public Awareness

2004 Biodiversity Day Around the World

CBD Secretariat

As International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) 2004 fell on a Saturday and the following Monday being a holiday in Canada, most of the activities planned by the Secretariat were held during the days preceding 22 May.

The Website for International Day for Biological Diversity 2004 includes information for Parties and the general public on the history of IBD; Theme for IBD 2004; the Poster for IBD 2004; suggestions for national and international activities to celebrate IBD; and a downloadable version of the 2004 Poster.

Secretary-General’s Message

A Message from the Secretary-General has been received in the six official languages of the UN and is posted on the CBD Website.

Other Messages of Congratulation

The Secretariat advised the Rio Conventions and a number of its key partners of the significance of IBD in the 10th anniversary year of entry into force and their congratulatory messages will be posted on the Website as they are received.

School Awareness Programme

Following the successful introduction last year of an outreach programme to schools in the Montreal area, the programme was expanded this year to include selected college and university-level students and their professors. Secretariat staff volunteers gave presentations tailored to the age group and interests of the audience, always including a showing of the “Worldwide Web of Life” video that was completed for the CBD in October 2003 by TVE, and a discussion of the 2004 Theme and Poster. The Secretariat prepared a generic text from which presenters might pick facts and text to incorporate in their own presentations. Many of the Secretariat staff prepared PowerPoint presentations on individual topics or work programmes of the CBD. A list of educational Website addresses prepared by the Secretariat was given to the teacher responsible for each class, for distribution to all interested students. This list is also posted on the CBD Web site and is continuously updated throughout the year.

A detailed report of the School Awareness Programme will be posted here shortly.

Participation on 19 May in German/UNDP event to commemorate IBD

The Secretariat participated in the commemoration on 19 May in New York of International Day of Biological Diversity. Organized under the auspices of the UNDP and the Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, the event, "A Global Dialogue on 'Learning From Community Action: Biodiversity and the Millennium Development Goals'", also honoured three Equator Prize-winning communities who participated in the global dialogue and received their awards from the Administrator of UNDP. The three invited Equator Prize winning communities were, GREEN Foundation of India, Torra Conservancy of Namibia and Proyecto Nasa of Colombia. Mr. Conrod Hunte, CBD Liaison Officer based at UN Headquarters in New York, delivered a toast on behalf of the Executive Secretary, offering congratulations to the recipients and emphasizing the link between the projects of the prize-winning communities and the Theme of IBD. He added, "It is you and your efforts that give meaning to the work of the Secretariat. While we organize meetings, debate issues and formulate policies, you are on the ground, putting into effect our words and hopes". Click here to see the full version of Mr. Hunte's remarks.

Vin d’honneur

On 21 May, the Executive Secretary hosted a vin d'honneur in Montreal to mark the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity and the 10th anniversary year of entry into force of the Convention.

Guests included the Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development, the Honourable Lucienne Robillard, Mme Dida Berku, representing the Mayor of Montreal, representatives of the federal government, Québec and Montréal, the Consular Corps, international organizations and NGOs based in Montreal, universities and the Secretariat staff.

In his Opening Remarks, Mr. Zedan paid special tribute to Dr. John Herity and his unflagging commitment to the goals of the CBD. Dr. Herity, who has led the Biodiversity Office of Environment Canada since 1991, was recently appointed Director of the IUCN Canada Office.

The Honourable Lucienne Robillard, Minister of Trade and Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development announced on behalf of the Government of Canada a long-term commitment of US $8 million over the next ten years in support of the operations of the Convention on Biological Diversity. (Press Release available in English and French)

Following the Minister’s announcement, Mr. Zedan offered thanks to Mme Robillard and the Government of Canada. The representatives of the City of Montreal and Montreal International (Press Release available in English and French) also hailed the announcement.

Secretariat staff attend special tour of Biosphère On 28 May, celebration of IBD continued as the Secretariat staff participated in a fascinating special tour of Environment Canada's Biosphère, which is housed in the spectacular Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome that was designed as the American pavilion for Expo 67. Inaugurated in 1995 as the first Ecowatch Centre in Canada, the Biosphère continues to raise public awareness about environmental issues affecting the St Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes ecosystems. The tour for Secretariat staff is a prelude to developing longer-term cooperation between the two organizations to promote biodiversity education in the context of topical issues addressed by the CBD and the subject matter of the Biosphère.

Reports and details of activities will be posted as they become available.