"Half the world’s marine resources lie in island waters. Biodiversity-based industries such as tourism and fisheries account for more than half the gross domestic product of small island developing states. [...] Let us commit to adopting, adapting and scaling up best practices so we can protect fragile ecosystems for the benefit of all the islanders -- and indeed people everywhere -- who depend on them."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Aerial view of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas constitute unique ecosystems often comprising many plant and animal species that are endemic —found nowhere else on Earth. The legacy of a unique evolutionary history these ecosystems are irreplaceable treasures.
They are also key to the livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of 600 million islanders—one-tenth of the world’s population. Read more about the importance of islands.
The theme Island Biodiversity was chosen to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States . In addition, the theme was chosen to correspond with the timing of COP decision XI/15 paragraph 1(a) “to strengthen the implementation of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity”. Read the notification.
The United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 55/201 of 20 December 2000, proclaimed 22 May as The International Day for Biological Diversity, to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The date designated for the day was chosen 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.
The day was first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, and the UN General Assembly, by its resolution 49/119 of 19 December 1994, designated December 29th (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity) the International Day for Biological Diversity. However, 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.