Communication, Education & Public Awareness

Celebrating Biodiversity Day in Canada

In honour of the International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2006, the Government of Canada held an exhibit on biodiversity and drylands on May 17th in the lobby of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and on May 18th in the lobby of Environment Canada.

CIDA is home to the national focal point for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), while Environment Canada houses the Biodiversity Convention Office (BCO), the national focal point for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The exhibit at CIDA coincided with an event to launch the redesign of their website.  Computer monitors were preset to the section of the website that showcased CIDA’s work on desertification in developing countries.

The exhibits also highlighted information about conservation efforts and unique challenges facing biodiversity in the dryland ecosystem of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, and information about the Prairie Conservation Action Plan.

The collaborative efforts of Environment Canada and CIDA to celebrate Biodiversity Day led to additional discussions about national-level synergies between the UNFCCD and the CBD, and an event to discuss this theme is planned for the fall of 2006.

In addition to the exhibits, BCO posted information about biodiversity in Canadian drylands to the public on the Canadian Biodiversity Information Network (CBIN) website, our national node of the Clearing House Mechanism (

Information included a biodiversity event planning guide and an educational word search for kids.  A link to the Biodiversity Page on CBIN was published in the May issue of Envirozine, Environment Canada’s online news magazine:

In a statement released on May 19, the Natural Resources Minister of the Province of Ontario highlighted the need for continued action to protect and conserve the earth’s biodiversity. Emphasizing a number of actions taken by the Government of Ontario, Minister David Ramsay said, "The goal of International Day for Biological Diversity is to increase global awareness that biodiversity is what sustains all life on our planet and that we all have a responsibility to conserve and protect it. Ontario is continuing to make gains on a number of fronts to support this goal and to ensure that future generations of Ontarians will have clean air and water, abundant natural spaces, plentiful habitat for wildlife, and all the benefits of a healthy, natural environment."

Also on May 19, the Honourable J. Michael Miltenberger, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) released the second report of the Northwest Territories (NWT) Biodiversity Action Plan. The report links efforts in the NWT to International Biodiversity Day, May 22. It makes recommendations on how to close gaps and improve cooperation on biodiversity actions undertaken in the NWT.
Copies of Report 2 of the NWT Biodiversity Action Plan are available on the Internet at: